RSpace provides a comprehensive set of FAQs at:
The FAQs here focus mostly on UCL’s implementation of RSpace and the elements of the service that are provided by the university.
How do I?
- How do I create a second or subsequent research group?
RSpace provides directions for creating a new research group at:
At present, however, you will need to contact email@example.com to create a second or subsequent research group.
- I collaborate with people outside of UCL. How do I add them to a project in the ERN?
In order to edit work in the UCL ERN, collaborators will need to have their own UCL sign-in credentials.
We are working on a mechanism that will enable external collaborators to be added to a group without going through the honorary membership process. This should be in place in 2022.
Ways in which UCL researchers can share their work with external collaborators (read only) are explained in the RSpace FAQ at:
under the ‘Sharing’ section.
- Can we set up an RSpace area for our department/institute/faculty enabling us to share content more broadly than just at the research group level?
Yes. The institutional version of RSpace provided by UCL enables 'communities' which can be administered at the departmental or other level,
Further information about creating a community in the UCL ERN can be found at:
If you would like us to help create a community, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I am already using the Community version of RSpace. Can I move my existing content to the UCL institutional version?
Yes. Instructions are provided by RSpace at:
- I am currently using a different Electronic Lab / Research Notebook. Can I migrate the content from this into the UCL institutional ERN?
The answer to this depends on the export functions of your current ELN / ERN. It is usually a complex and time consuming process.
If your existing system only exports content as .pdf files, you will essentially need to save these and then link to them from RSpace. They won’t be editable.
.html exports are not much better, as they (normally) won’t come with any of the metadata or database relationships that they had in their original notebook system.
There is greater hope if the source notebook can export content in machine-readable formats such as .xml. In such instances it may be possible to write computer code that can migrate content from a source notebook to RSpace in a non-manual way. It will however take time and expertise. It may be possible for Advanced Research Computing (ARC) to help with this, although this is not a free service. Please write to email@example.com if you would like to discuss this further.
The RSpace API (Application Programming Interface) is available to you if you have the expertise to create a migration script yourself.
One of the reasons that UCL chose RSpace is that it is (relatively) easy to extract content in a format that enables it to be moved to other systems in future, this reducing the risk of vendor lock-in. Getting data out of RSpace and into other systems is likely to be easier than getting data out of other systems into RSpace.
- If I use UCL RSpace, who else can see my work?
UCL staff and students will be able to see that you have set up an account in UCL RSpace via the MyRSpace Directory tab (which helps when finding other members of your research group(s)), but they will not be able to see your work unless you actively choose to share it with them.
- Am I allowed to continue using other digital solutions?
You can use whatever software you like, provided it's secure. In some fields, there are specialist electronic notebooks which may have important functionality that RSpace currently lacks. However, we would strongly encourage you to adopt the UCL ERN in order to simplify support, make it easier to collaborate with other groups in the future, and to begin to establish a common set of research data management tools that will ultimately help improve research reproducibility and (appropriate) reuse. Plus, you will never need to pay for it!
Training & Support
- I've used paper lab/research notebooks for years, but am interested in moving to a different approach. What sort of support/training can you offer me?
There are online support pages at:
and a 'getting started' guide at:
We will be working with RSpace to provide group training sessions. Details will be posted on our website and communicated to everyone who has created an account in the UCL ERN as and when these sessions are scheduled.
- Is training provided?
We will be running regular training sessions in conjunction with RSpace staff. These will be advertised via our website and communicated to everyone who has created an account in the UCL ERN.
RSpace also provides a number of video tutorials covering various aspects of the software, from general introductions to guides for PIs on managing groups. These are available from:
General support materials, along with a search engine and comprehensive FAQ can be found at:
- Why have you decided to offer a centrally-supported Electronic Research Notebook for UCL users?
In part, UCL are providing a centrally managed Electronic Research Notebook to staff to encourage the move away from traditional paper lab notebooks to much richer and more functional electronic versions.
Electronic Lab/Research notebooks help researchers (amongst other things):
- 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
The institutional version of RSpace in turn provides advantages over the community version:
- Single sign on integration for additional security
- Links to institutional and lab-based file stores
- Integration with institutional repositories and archives
- Sysadmin control (we can help if things go wrong)
- Multi-tiered admin, including the ability to create and administer Communities
Perhaps most importantly, however, it enables institutional support and life-cycle data management. UCL can preserve a record of research undertaken at the university and ensure that it is associated with related outputs to build a rich and well-documented record of the research process, ultimately improving research reproducibility and (appropriate) reuse.
Having a single UCL-supported ERN also makes it easier to support researchers streamline and automate their processes. The RSpace Application Programming Interface means that you do not need to do everything manually – you can write computer code to speed things up and ensure consistency. Even if you or your group lack the programming skills to do this yourself, there are others who can help. Advanced Research Computing (ARC) employs a number of programmers and data managers who can work with you to address research challenges. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to explore this option further.
- Why did UCL choose 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 and all the researchers at UCL who helped us test the shortlisted options.
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.
- What sort of research activity will benefit from the use of RSpace? Is it just for lab-orientated research, or can other research areas gain benefits?
RSpace, like almost all Electronic Research Notebooks, was originally developed to meet the needs of researchers working in lab environments. This is still very clear from the terminology used and the initial integrations offered by the service. One of the reasons we have chosen to enter into a partnership with RSpace is, however, because of their intention to serve the broader research community in the future. Researchers in many disciplines are likely to benefit from the 'organisational 'notebook' structure and the ability to selectively share content with colleagues, whilst the oversight that the system can grant PIs over their students and junior staff can help enable them to identify potential problems and offer help earlier than would normally be the case. We hope that the versatility and ease of use that the ERN provides will encourage uptake across multiple fields and provide broad benefits to researchers. If you have suggestions for improvements to the ERN that would make it more useful for research in your field, please do let us know via email@example.com.
- I have a question not answered here. What should I do?
If you are working in the RSpace interface then you will generally find you'll get the quickest response to any questions you may have by clicking the question mark button at the bottom-right of the screen. This will activate RSpace's live chat services as well as provide an index of support options. Otherwise, questions about RSpace should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions related to UCL's implementation of RSpace should be addressed to email@example.com.