Feedback on LIMS?

I promise I have a real post that is oh-so-close to being finished. But for the moment, you have to bear with a bit of shameless crowd-sourcing.

In my current postdoc lab, organization and tracking of reagents and supplies is a small disaster, to put it mildly. Since we are now 3 postdocs (woohoo!) and 2 of us are just digging into our new research, it seems an opportune time to get the lab’s shit together. Before futzing around with software too much, I want to know what (if any) management system you’re using in your lab.

We want something that is simple to use, reliable, searchable, efficient… The major use will be for inventorying antibodies, chemicals, supplies, etc. It would also be useful but not necessary to share protocols. We’re not really looking to store lab data, though.

I have a little experience with LabLife, but I’m curious about other systems. I’ve heard about BioKM but am unclear about the advantage it provides that makes it worth the money.

Any feedback on systems you’ve tried would be greatly appreciated 🙂

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10 Responses to Feedback on LIMS?

  1. Joyce says:

    We use google docs to monitor our expenses, chemical inventory, and freezer stocks. It’s easy to search, sortable, very easy to share with new labmates and anyone else who needs to see it, easy to track changes and revert if necessary, doesn’t require any special software installation and best of all it’s free! Having said that, I’m going to check out those software links you gave, always worth checking out what is available.

  2. tideliar says:

    My boss is insistent that we claim our CDMS is useful as a LIMS too. So not true. We do data management, not lab management!

    That being said, with only a few of you GoggleDocs might be a very fast and easy way to do it. however, it’s also a good time to get started on setting up a commercia LIMS…before you have too many peoople and too many projects.

    I think Brian at LabSapces did a post on some of this, talking about BioKM. Also, I know Jon Gross, CEO of BioKM is looking for volunteers to try their software now. might be worth getting in touch…

  3. @biochembelle
    Yes. BioKM is not free, set aside the functionality and ease of use,
    we provide you with service and support, a dedicated account manager, daily backups – your team deserves that.

    Our approach is that as a researcher you should focus on doing science, we build the knowledge – infrastructure for you to do so.
    BioKM is a flexible system that assists in all aspects of research management – from tracking research progress to collection management,
    on to the actual logistics of purchasing lab supplies and their storage locations. everything is logically connected and easy to use.

    Having written that the real key edge of BioData is that we are community driven –
    we are constantly improving the platform based on the feedback and requirements
    from the labs working with us.

    Deciding on a research management system is a big decision and a big commitment, it is usually easy to set up but hard to maintain,
    (especially in academic environment) – getting the “buy-in” of the team is crucial for success. You need to choose the best available solution for you and your team, price is only one aspect of it.

    We do provide 30 days to try the system and understand its benefits.
    We are always open to communicate and learn how we can serve better the end user , the researcher that uses BioKM.

    I invite you to try it out and looking to your feedback.

  4. Hello,
    I am Adam Regelmann and I am one of the Quartzy ( co-founders. I came up with the idea for Quartzy during my PhD at Columbia after spending a lot of time in my lab on administrative tasks instead of on research.

    I would love to answer any questions that you may have about Quartzy. In brief Quartzy is
    – Free
    – Customizable: You can create a type (Antibody, Cell Culture etc) and add your own fields to each type
    – Easy to get started: You can upload your existing excel inventories or add items quickly from integrated vendor catalogs
    – Streamlined Orders: Place an order with your lab manager with 2 clicks. Be notified via email when an order is accepted and when the product is delivered.

    There are a lot of other features like requesting nearby labs for reagents and reviewing product testimonials before buying something that I believe make Quartzy very user friendly. We also have similar modules for managing shared protocols and facilities (shared calendar, email reminders for booking on facilities, resource discovery at your and neighboring institutions and more).

    Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks

    Happy Experimenting!
    Adam Regelmann, MD/PhD

  5. gcbenison says:

    I have found that in the academic settings I have worked in , there is reluctance to adopt a full-blown LIMS with its perceived complexity. Instead, I have used my own minimalist system for tracking my samples. It requires nothing but a postscript interpreter, a printer, and a (physical) file folder.

    • biochembelle says:

      Another concern about LIMS is, what happens if the company stops supporting the system? We started using LabLife but, since they’ve been picked up by Biodata, we have to migrate what we’ve got already. As much as we may hate MS Office at times, it’s not’s really going anywhere.

      • Hi biochembelle,
        BioData has acquired LabLife, indeed, but we will help all LabLife users migrate their accounts to Labguru with all their LabLife account data moved directly into Labguru. This option will be available very soon. Labguru will then contain all your research information from the LabLife account, and you will be able to continue working with Labguru instead of LabLife, and update it with more research data. For information about Labguru visit our website:, watch a product tour:, read comments about Labguru from our users:, and please – don’t hesitate to contact us with any request or question:
        All the best,

        • biochembelle says:

          Don’t get me wrong, Maya: it sounds like a nice idea – until it comes to the part of convincing a PI to shell out $12 per month per user. In some (many?) labs, that’s just not going to happen.

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