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Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)

An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) is a software tool that replicates a traditional paper lab notebook.

Open Science Framework (OSF)

Open Science Framework (OSF;

Summary from Vendor: Provided from the Center for Open Science, Open Science Framework (OSF) provides free and open source project management support for researchers across the entire research lifecycle. As a collaboration tool, OSF helps researchers work on projects privately with a limited number of collaborators and make parts of their projects public, or make all the project publicly accessible for broader dissemination. As a workflow system, OSF enables connections to the many services researchers already use to streamline their process and increase efficiency. As a flexible repository, it can store and archive research data, protocols, and materials. With OSF's workflow and storage integrations, you really can manage your entire project from one place.

Compare OSF to other options in the Electronic Lab Notebook Matrix.

Open Science Framework




Vendor representative verified this information

green check


Search functions can search across file formats and beyond typos

Able to search for documents within the platform, able to search beyond file formats, able to search beyond typographical errors, transparency of file structure

Ability to manipulate files and images

Can manipulate text documents and spreadsheets, and can manipulate some elements of images and other data sets

Support for multiple open windows

green check

Ability to link out

green check

Support for Researcher Documentation

Hyperlink support

green check

Metadata Creation Prompts

green check

Rights Management (Licensing)

green check

Protocol Integration

green check

Adaptability to Lab Workflows

Accounts/Permissions Levels

green check

Internal Data Sharing

green check

Adaptable to a Variety of Workflows

green check

Compatibility with authoring tools

green check

Windows Compatible

green check

Macintosh Compatible

green check

Linux Compatible

green check

Android Compatible

green check

iOS Compatible

green check


Cloud Storage

green check

Local Storage

red x

Hybrid (cloud/local) Storage

red x


OSF supports version tracking, backup, and storage; allows users to see project changes, project contributors, and view historical file versions

File Redundancy

green check

Creates stable URLs or persistent identifiers for entries

green check

Can unregistered users access the data found at persistent links?

green check

Storage Capacity - Users

No limit

Storage Capacity - Max File Size

For direct upload to OSF storage, the limit is 5 GB. If a user has larger files, they can connect them to OSF from another storage service like Amazon S3 and then move them to OSF storage once connected.



green check


red x


red x



Administrator, user, in-person


FAQs, support forum, video tutorials, instructions, troubleshooting information, "quick-start" instructions, webinars, email support

Data Migration from Other Systems (incoming migration)

green check

Compatability with data repositories

green check

Exit Strategies (outgoing migration)

No information provided

Recovery Options

Preservation through versioning. Recovery options for deleted data.

Single Sign-on (Institutional ID)

green check

Number of Installations per institution

No limit

Multiple client use

green check

Number of registered Harvard/HMS users

6 users with email; 269 users with email; most people register with generic Gmail accounts.

Other higher-education users

30+ institutions use single sign on, 400+ institutions world-wide, 60k+ users.


Security levels

Up to and including Level 2

Backdoor accessibility

red x


Open Science/Open Data Efforts

OSF is an open source service of the Center for Open Science. They are aligning scientific practices with scientific values by improving openness, integrity and reproducibility of research. 

Academically Oriented

green check

Cost (per seat)


Academically Oriented

green check

Dictation/voice input

red x

Data Entry

Drag and drop files from the desktop; create projects and components that are manipulable within the tool.

Tiers of Service

The OSF is a free, open source service of the Center for Open Science; it is a 501(c)3 non-profit and is grant-funded.

Platform Integrations

Dropbox, Github, Amazon Web Services, box, Google Drive, figshare, Dataverse, Mendeley

This webinar outlines how to use the free Open Science Framework (OSF) as an Electronic Lab Notebook for personal work or private collaborations. Fundamental features we cover include how to record daily activity, how to store images or arbitrary data files, how to invite collaborators, how to view old versions of files, and how to connect all this usage to more complex structures that support the full work of a lab across multiple projects and experiments.

This webinar walks you through the basics of creating an OSF project, structuring it to fit your research needs, adding collaborators, and tying your favorite online tools into your project structure. (April 27, 2018)

1.  Why should I use the OSF?

OSF's primary aim is to help promote open science and reproducibility but this product can be used without creating registrations or sharing your data. [From the Center for Open Science]

2. What is the strength of the OSF? 

Really a file-based organizer with a wiki and sharing/collaboration tools. Good for creating a shared workspace with others while working in other products like Google Docs or GitHub. Also good for pre-registering your study/analysis plan.

3. Does it cost to use the OSF?

It's free!

4. Can I sign in with my WashU credentials?

Yes. Click the sign in with institution.

5. Can I integrate other tools with the OSF? 

Works with products you already use:

  • Google, including UMN Google
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Amazon S3
  • Figshare
  • GitHub
  • Mendeley
  • Zotero
  • and more...


For more information see the OSF FAQ

Jennifer Moore, Head of Data Services, Washington University Libraries

Melissa Vetter, Biology, Psychology and PNP Librarian, Washington University Libraries