How Laboratory Informatics Can Benefit Researchers
As the scope of research continues to widen to encompass larger ideas and more dynamic projects, it’s important that researchers are able to adapt to new environments and situations so that they can get the greatest benefit out of modern technology. Laboratory informatics can assist with this, creating communications and data networks that enable researchers to effortlessly share their information with others so as to allow them to do more thorough work in less time and without regard to geographic boundaries that once prevented collaboration. The use of laboratory informatics and the exchange of information via new technology can make future breakthroughs both faster and more significant, while at the same time making it much easier for researchers to do the work that they need to do.
Defining Laboratory Informatics
Laboratory informatics is the science of how information can be more readily exchanged among researchers and laboratory personnel so as to enable them to collaborate on research problems and share gathered data freely. This can enable researchers in different facilities or even in different parts of the world to work together in real time, eliminating potential problems that could be caused by out-of-date information and encouraging more of a feeling of community among researchers in different fields. This is accomplished through the use of advanced computer networking, software, and telecommunications technology which will enable researchers to access data when they need it and provide others with new data as it is compiled. Laboratory informatics combines a number of different technologies in such a way that they work as a single network, providing the users of that network with new and relevant ways to share their work with others.
Laboratory Informatics Benefits
The benefits of a laboratory informatics network are many, and can aid not only researchers but also everyday people whom new research discoveries can help. By allowing researchers in different laboratory settings or with different specialties to collaborate on research projects, laboratory informatics creates a kind of “virtual laboratory” in which the data from all networked projects becomes available to members of other projects. This allows the involved researchers to spend less time collecting data or waiting for information to arrive from another location, which in turn allows them to focus more on the work at hand and makes their research both faster and more efficient. By reducing the time that is wasted and allowing each researcher to focus on the work that they are most suited for, the relevance of the discoveries made can increase significantly without taking the extra time that it once would have required for research of that magnitude.
Expanding Beyond the Laboratory
Of course, laboratory informatics can have effects that reach beyond the confines of individual laboratories and allow others both access to new information and a chance to contribute to important work even if they aren’t scientifically trained or focused with a research specialization. A number of technologies allow individuals to assist in important research at home, either by comparing small bits of data after a brief period of training or by allowing their home computer to run a program that automatically compares these data bits as part of the computer’s regular idle processes. This can allow researchers to focus more on collecting the data and analyzing the results, since they can offset the amount of work that they and their assistants must do by allowing for these comparisons. Through the use of comparison technologies such as these, research projects that once might have taken years to complete can now be finished within a matter of several months.