Colabra vs. SciNote

Understand the differences between SciNote and Colabra to choose an ELN, LIMS and project management software that's right for your team's needs and budget.

SciNote is an all-in-one laboratory information management system, electronic lab notebook, and project management software. As a similar all-in-one solution, Colabra is often compared to SciNote.

Below are the key philosophical and technical differences between the two products.

Ease of use

The first thing you’ll notice if you try using both products is the learning curve. SciNote’s user interface is daunting, and you have to spend hours watching tutorial videos and chatting with their tech support team before you can start using the most basic features.

And even after all that time investment, nothing ever gets obvious. For example, you need to refer to your training notes and wade through half a dozen menus every time you want to add a spreadsheet to your experiment — something that takes two clicks in Colabra.

Colabra was consciously designed to not need a tutorials page or an onboarding team. One of our three product values is simplicity (the other two — searchability and reliability), and our user experience reflects that. The product feels familiar the first time you log in, yet becomes even easier to use over time for power-users.

SciNote is a feature-complete LIMS with familiar features such as an electronic lab notebook, inventory management, and basic project management features. However, because they have focused on branching out, the interface often feels bloated and slow. It’s also never quite clear if the feature you’re looking for actually exists, or whether it’s just hidden behind some poorly designed user interface.

If you’re looking for an ELN designed to be easy to use for everyone on your team on a daily basis (yet endlessly extensible when you need it), you should be using Colabra.

Functionality

Although SciNote is a feature-complete ELN, they lack a number of important features Colabra has prioritized.

Experimental notes

Colabra has laser-focused on the user experience around the experiment — making it easy to create, find and organize your experimental notes. We recognized many scientists spend time in the lab with nothing but their phones, so your notes are then also easy to view on a small screen.

If you’re someone who doesn’t do experiments every week, and doesn’t care about the user experience around the experiment, you may find SciNote sufficient.

If you review or edit experimental notes every day, Colabra will save your hours every week.

Project management

Colabra includes easy-to-use yet robust project management tools that understand your research workflows. Everyone on your team will always know what they’re responsible for, what needs to be done next, and what everyone else has been working on.

If you use a dedicated task management software outside of SciNote (such as Trello or Asana), or if you don’t track project progress at all, you may be fine with SciNote.

If you want to accelerate your research through more rigorous project management, and give everyone visibility into your research roadmap, Colabra is the best tool for you.

Real-time collaboration

Colabra’s focus on teams makes sure everyone always stays on the same page.

Experimental notes in Colabra can be safely co-edited by multiple collaborators, without the risk of overwriting each-other’s work (something you can’t do with SciNote).

And all other features, from Protocols, to Tags and Inventory Management are built to be used collaboratively, to ensure consistent data management and research workflows across your organization.

If your team is very small, or you have no need to share lab space or scientific results with other scientists, then SciNote may serve your needs.

If you have over 10 team members, or if you collaborate with Contract Research Organizations, remote labs, academic institutions and other partners, Colabra will allow for much more seamless and reliable workflows.

Integrations

Colabra’s focus from the beginning has been to build the most extensible ELN.

SciNote only offers a few basic integrations, such as ChemAxon and Protocols.io, and when you try to use them, you’ll instantly see that these were just an afterthought.

Colabra integrates with dozens of your favorites tools like Tableau, GraphPad Prism, Github, Google Drive, and many more, and each integration fits seamlessly into the Colabra user experience.

If you use the ELN as a standalone application and don’t need to integrate other software and data sources into your experimental notes, SciNote may work for you.

If your research regularly involves working with specialty file formats, software and hardware, Colabra is your workspace of choice.

Security

Colabra is a SOC 2 Type II compliant product, meaning that we passed a rigorous certification process to ensure that the product hits high thresholds for managing customer data based on five “trust service principles”—security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy.

SOC 2 Type II is an auditing procedure that ensures service providers securely manage customer data to protect the privacy of their clients. For security-conscious businesses, SOC 2 compliance is a minimal requirement.

SciNote is not a SOC 2 compliant product.