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Archive : February 2023


In an earlier article, we highlighted the top laboratory scientific data requirements for LIMS / ELN laboratory systems RFPs.

This article discusses Request for Proposal (RFP) requirements for sample management. Here are some top requirements that you consider including in your RFP:

Sample Tracking: The LIMS / ELN RFP should include requirements for a robust sample tracking system that allows for quick and easy tracking of samples throughout the entire workflow, from sample reception to storage to disposal. This should include the ability to track sample location, sample history, and sample storage conditions.

Sample 3D Plating: Sample 3D plating is a LIMS / ELN RFP feature that can layer materials and samples on plates, such as cell lines, transfection reagents, and viral vectors. It allows the plate to be graphically viewed from a 2D and 3D perspective, the latter providing the ability to view each layer.

Sample Lineage: A sample lineage graphical viewer is an essential feature for LIMS / ELN RFPs because it helps ensure the reproducibility and accuracy of experimental results. By tracking the origin and history of a sample, researchers can identify potential sources of variation and ensure that any observed effects are due to the experimental manipulations rather than to differences in the samples themselves.

Barcoding and Labeling: The lab system should be able to generate and print unique barcodes and labels for each sample. The system should also support a variety of label types and printers.

Storage Management: The LIMS / ELN system should have the ability to manage and monitor all aspects of sample storage, including location, temperature, humidity, and storage conditions. The system should also have the ability to automate storage and retrieval processes.

Sample Requests: The lab system should be able to manage sample requests, including tracking the status of requests, automatically generating pick lists, and tracking samples that have been removed from storage.

Sample Scheduling: This refers to arranging and planning when a sample or set of samples will be analyzed in the laboratory. The sample scheduling feature allows the laboratory to manage the workflow and prioritize samples based on their urgency and the laboratory’s capacity. With sample scheduling, the laboratory can optimize its resources to ensure that samples are analyzed promptly and efficiently.

Billable and Non-billable Samples: This LIMS / ELN feature distinguishes between samples that will be charged to a client and samples that will not. Some samples may be provided as part of a contract or agreement in a laboratory setting, while others may be ad-hoc or provided for research purposes. Samples that are part of a contract are usually billable, while non-billable samples may be used for research, quality control, or internal testing.

Sample Custom Labeling: This LIMS / ELN RFP requirement allows the laboratory to create and assign unique labels to each sample. Custom labeling can include the sample type, origin, date, and any other relevant information. This helps the laboratory to track and identify each sample throughout the testing process, reducing the risk of errors or misidentification.

Ad-hoc Samples: Ad-hoc samples are not part of the regular LIMS / ELN workflow and are often urgent or require special attention. This feature allows the laboratory to receive and prioritize ad-hoc samples, ensuring they are analyzed quickly and accurately.

Sample Override and Rerun: This feature allows the laboratory to override the initial result obtained from a sample and rerun the analysis. This may be necessary if the initial result is questionable or if there is a suspected error in the testing process. The laboratory can then compare the initial and rerun results to ensure the accuracy of the analysis. This feature helps to ensure that the laboratory produces reliable and consistent results.

In summary, when creating a LIMS / ELN vendor Request for Proposal (RFP) for sample management, it is crucial to consider various requirements, including sample tracking, barcoding and labeling, storage management, sample requests, sample plating, sample lineage, sample schedules, billable and non-billable samples, sample custom labeling, ad-hoc samples, and sample override and rerun. These features help to optimize the laboratory’s workflow, reduce errors, and produce reliable and consistent results. By carefully considering these requirements, laboratories can select a suitable LIMS / ELN system that meets their needs and enhances productivity.


In an earlier article, we highlighted the top lab instrument integration requirements for LIMS / ELN laboratory systems RFPs.

Robust science data is simply a must for any laboratory. When launching a LIMS / ELN Request for Proposal, you should consider several requirements to ensure that the system you purchase can meet your needs. This blog post discusses some of the top requirements for a LIMS / ELN RFP document concerning laboratory scientific data.

Unified, Centralized Scientific Data

A laboratory information system should have a centralized scientific data model and storage mechanism allowing data consolidation from various vendor systems, instruments, and locations. This ensures that the data is consistent and eliminates the possibility of data duplication. A unified, centralized LIMS / ELN data system makes it easier to manage and analyze data and saves time and resources.

Advanced Search

A fuzzy search algorithm is a powerful feature to include in your LIMS /ELN RFP that enables a Google-like search where exact keywords and correct spelling aren’t necessary. Targeted searching can be done on all fields with a user-friendly query builder requiring no LIMS / ELN database structure or SQL knowledge. Query By Example supports complex searches with an intuitive interface, again where no knowledge of SQL is required.

Built-in Visualizations

A LIMS / ELN should provide built-in visualizations that enable users to analyze scientific data conveniently. Visualizations such as scatter plots, heat maps, and bar graphs can help users quickly identify trends, correlations, and anomalies in data. Visualizations can make complex data more accessible and understandable and help users make informed decisions.

Automation Rules Engine

Another key RFP requirement is that a lab information system/notebook should have a rules engine that enables the user to specify the conditions under which certain actions are to be taken on data. A lab rules engine can automate scientific data validation, data normalization, and data transformation, which saves time and reduces errors. A rules engine can also help to ensure that data quality is maintained, and it can provide alerts when data values fall outside predefined ranges.


A no-code laboratory information system is a system that does not require any coding to operate. This means that users do not need programming skills to use the system and can easily create custom reports, dashboards, and workflows using a drag-and-drop interface. A no-code laboratory information system is essential because it enables users to quickly configure the system to meet their specific needs without requiring extensive technical skills or training.

Knowledge Graph

A knowledge graph is a powerful feature that lets users visualize the relationships between scientific data points. A knowledge graph can help users identify correlations and patterns in data and provide valuable insights into complex data sets. A knowledge graph is an essential feature for a LIMS / ELN system and RFP because it enables users to quickly navigate data, identify relationships, and make informed decisions based on the data.

Data Quality Control Charts

A LIMS / ELN system should have built-in quality control charts that enable users to monitor the performance of laboratory processes. Quality control charts enable users to quickly identify trends, outliers, and other anomalies in scientific data, which can help to improve the quality of laboratory processes. Quality control charts are essential for a lab information system because they enable users to ensure that laboratory processes are operating at peak efficiency and produce accurate and reliable data.

In conclusion, a LIMS / ELN laboratory information system is an essential tool for managing laboratory scientific data, and it is vital to consider RFP requirements when purchasing a system carefully. A system with unified, centralized data, fuzzy search, built-in visualizations, a rules engine, no-code functionality, a knowledge graph, and quality control charts can help to ensure that laboratory processes are efficient, accurate, and reliable.


In an earlier article we highlighted the top security and privacy requirements for LIMS / ELN laboratory systems RFPs.

In this article, we highlight the top instrument integration requirements for a LIMS / ELN Request for Proposal (RFP).

The importance of having a robust and simple integration between laboratory instruments and lab information, workflow and notebook systems cannot be overstated. The success of any laboratory heavily depends on the efficiency and accuracy of data generated, and without a seamless integration between instruments and information systems, these goals cannot be achieved.

To help you select the right vendor for your LIMS / ELN laboratory information system here we have compiled a list of the top RFP requirements:

  • Easy Instrument Connectivity: The vendor should provide an easy and straightforward way to connect our laboratory instruments to the LIMS / ELN. This will minimize the time and effort required to get the instruments up and running.
  • Automated Data Transfer: The vendor should provide automated data transfer between instruments and the information system to ensure that data is transferred quickly and accurately. This will minimize the risk of human error and ensure that data is available in real-time.
  • Customizable Workflows: The vendor should provide customizable LIMS workflows to allow us to configure the system to meet the specific needs of our laboratory. This will ensure that the system is flexible and can adapt as our laboratory processes change over time.
  • User-friendly Interface: The vendor should provide a user-friendly LIMS / ELN interface that is intuitive and easy to use. This will minimize the time required for training and will allow our staff to be productive quickly.
  • Data Security: The vendor should provide strong data security measures to protect our sensitive laboratory data. This will ensure that our data is secure and protected from unauthorized access.
  • Scalability: The vendor should provide a solution that is scalable and can be easily adapted to meet the changing needs of our laboratory. This will ensure that the solution remains relevant and valuable as our laboratory grows.
  • Sequences Definition and Export: The vendor should provide the capability for defining and exporting sequences to instruments. This will ensure that we can easily transfer protocols and methods between instruments, making the laboratory more efficient and reducing the risk of human error.
  • Equipment Management: The vendor should provide a way to automatically or manually remove an instrument from potential use when it falls out of tolerance limit or requires scheduled calibration. This will ensure that our laboratory is operating within safe and effective parameters and that we can maintain the accuracy and reliability of our data.
  • Maintenance Records: The vendor should provide a database of preventative maintenance, calibration, and repair records for laboratory equipment, preferably supported by standardized reporting. This will ensure that we have a complete and accurate record of the maintenance history of our instruments, making it easier to track and identify any potential problems.
  • Maintenance Profiles: The vendor should allow users to create and edit instrument maintenance profiles. This will ensure that we can easily manage the maintenance needs of our laboratory instruments, and that we can quickly identify when an instrument requires maintenance.

Incorporating these requirements into an LIMS / ELN RFP document will further ensure that we choose a vendor that can provide us with a comprehensive and efficient laboratory information system. With these requirements, we will be able to optimize our laboratory processes and ensure the accuracy and reliability of our data.

In conclusion, a robust and simple integration between laboratory instruments and information systems is essential for the success of any laboratory. By including these top requirements in our RFP document, we will ensure that we choose a vendor that can provide us with a solution that meets our needs and helps us achieve our goals.


Lab data privacy and security are critical concerns when writing RFPs for Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) solutions. This is because laboratory science projects often involve sensitive personal health information (PHI) or confidential research data that must be protected.

LIMS and ELN solutions must implement robust data privacy and security measures to protect sensitive information and minimize the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access. This includes encryption, access controls, regular backups, and compliance with relevant regulations.

This blog post will discuss some of the top lab data privacy and security requirements to consider when writing a LIMS / ELN RFP. These topics are essential to protect sensitive information and ensure the reliability and validity of lab results.

eSignatures: FDA 21 CFR Part 11 is the criteria under which the agency considers electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

Unauthorized access: Unauthorized individuals or organizations may attempt to access sensitive information, potentially compromising privacy and security. It is important to consider measures to prevent unauthorized access, such as multi-factor authentication or role-based access controls.

Data breaches: Laboratory data breaches can result in the theft or exposure of sensitive information, leading to significant privacy and security risks. It is essential to consider measures such as encryption and regular backups to minimize the risk of data breaches.

Data loss or corruption: Accidental deletion, loss of lab data, or corruption of data due to technical issues can impact the reliability and validity of the results. In case of data loss or corruption, it is crucial to consider measures such as data backups and data recovery options.

Insider threats: Insider threats, such as employees or contractors, can pose significant risks that intentionally or unintentionally compromise privacy or security. It is important to consider measures to prevent insider threats, such as employee training and security audits.

Inadequate lab data protection: LIMS / ELN data protection measures, such as weak passwords or poor encryption, can leave sensitive information vulnerable to unauthorized access or theft. It is crucial to consider measures such as strong passwords and comprehensive data encryption at rest and in transit.

Compliance with regulations: Laboratories must comply with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to ensure the privacy and security of sensitive information. It is important to consider regulatory compliance in the RFP to protect sensitive information.

Audit logging: Audit logs must retain all data, prohibit any deletions, and allow reporting of data access by users, and all events must be time stamped. This is important for ensuring lab results’ reliability and validity and compliance with regulatory requirements.

In conclusion, lab data privacy and security are critical concerns when writing RFPs for LIMS and ELN solutions. By considering these top lab data privacy and security requirements, you can help ensure the protection of sensitive information and ensure the reliability and validity of lab results.


The article discusses SOC2 compliance for a LIMS or ELN vendor and highlights the importance of cybersecurity controls in the age of cloud computing.

SOC 2 compliance evaluates cybersecurity controls for business, in this case, a LIMS or ELN vendor, through an on-site audit. According to the top security risks in 2023 are:

What’s more, with an increasing amount of data stored in the cloud and offsite, it has never been more critical to ensure that the proper cybersecurity controls are in place.

Compliance with SOC 2 determines whether adequate internal controls are implemented to safeguard customer data. These controls should be sufficient and designed correctly, and the end game is to ensure they fulfill the required Trust Services Criteria.

SOC 2 Type 1 certificates refer to an evaluation of cybersecurity controls and processes audited at a single point in time. Sapio Sciences, a leading LIMS and ELN software vendor, is happy to report that in December 2022, RKL Advisors audited and renewed their SOC 2 Type 1 certification.