Advanced Research Computing


ERN further information

Additional resources for the UCL Electronic Research Notebook service

Training and Documentation 

RSpace provides comprehensive documentation at: https://researchspace.helpdocs.io/ 

Relevant articles when first exploring RSpace are Getting Started and the FAQ.

RSpace offers an in-app interactive search, which enables you to search for help articles and access interactive tutorials.

RSpace also has some useful training videos:


Researchers in many disciplines organise their notes and document their research processes in notebooks. Traditionally, these have been paper based and, once completed, have ended up on shelves and drawers in labs and offices before, if kept at all, being archived to deep storage. These notebooks contain a vital record of the research process which in many cases is invaluable for reproducing results.

Increasingly, researchers are turning to Electronic Research Notebooks, which can not only capture traditional notes but also 

  • link notes to data, code, visualizations, Office documents, and other electronic content
  • enable collaboration and sharing of notes between individuals and groups
  • may include sophisticated experimental workflow models reflecting/enforcing recognized standards and discipline-specific metadata
  • provide indelible time-stamping  and versioning

ERNs can also be integrated with other centrally-provided service, such as data storage and repository services.

By providing such functionality centrally, UCL can support and assist its researchers whilst preserving and curating vital contextual information about research. This will support research good practice by: greatly assisting research reproducibility; helping to provide a richer record of data provenance, null results, and tried but rejected research approaches; and may also help with the teaching of research skills and techniques.

Why RSpace?

The Electronic Research Notebook market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and there were a number of good options for us to choose from. We would like to thank all of the vendors who took part in our selection process. 

We settled on RSpace due to its combination of excellent functionality and match with UCL’s user requirements, its interoperability with other software and systems, and its popularity amongst researchers who helped us trial the shortlisted products.

Things that helped RSpace stand out included its focus on supporting research beyond traditional lab environments. Although all of the potential solutions we looked at were initially developed to meet the requirements of researchers working in wet-lab environments, UCL is keen to partner with a vendor that has shown the intention to broaden the scope of their product to serve research beyond the lab, which RSpace has done. Another factor was the flexibility of its API (Application Programming Interface). Whilst this may not have been the first concern of the researchers we spoke to during the project, it is important in terms of what it allows us to do in the future. Being able to write software code that interacts with the service enables us to more easily integrate it with existing and future research support infrastructure and software at UCL. It also provides the opportunity for researchers to automate aspects of the scientific process on a customized basis – such as data processing and documentation. Finally, we were impressed by the relative ease by which UCL would be able to get its data out again in a usable format.

How researchers use RSpace