Good Laboratory Notebook Practice
- Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science
- Future Students
- Current Students
- Research and Teaching
- Partners and Community
- About JCU
- Reputation and Experience
- Celebrating 50 Years
- Anton Breinl Research Centre
- Agriculture Technology and Adoption Centre
- Living on Campus
- Advanced Prawn Breeding Research Hub
- Advanced Analytical Centre
- Applying to JCU
- JCU Aquaculture Solutions
- AusAsian Mental Health Research Group
- Area 61
- Association of Australian University Secretaries
- Australian/NZ Students
- Australian Lions Stinger Research
- Boating and Diving
- Employability Edge
- Australian Tropical Herbarium
- Careers at JCU
- Careers and Employability
- Australian Quantum & Classical Transport Physics Group
- Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology
- College of Business, Law and Governance
- College of Healthcare Sciences
- WHOCC for N&M Education and Research
- College of Medicine and Dentistry
- College of Science and Engineering
- COVID-19 Advice
- Centre for Disaster Solutions
- Cyclone Testing Station
- The Centre for Disaster Studies
- Daintree Rainforest Observatory
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Discover Nature at JCU
- Research Division
- Services and Resources Division
- Education Division
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- Division of Tropical Health and Medicine
- Economic Geology Research Centre
- Elite Athletes
- Financial and Business Services Office
- Foundation for Australian Literary Studies
- Gender Equity Action and Research
- Give to JCU
- Information for JCU Cairns Graduates
- Graduate Research School
- Indigenous Education and Research Centre
- Indigenous Engagement
- Indigenous Legal Needs Project
- Inherent Requirements
- IsoTropics Geochemistry Lab
- IT Services
- International Schools
- International Students
- About JCU Connect
- Partner with us
- Innovate with us
- Research Grants, Tenders and Funding
Ethics and Research Integrity
- Animal Welfare and Ethics
- Human Research Ethics
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics
- Clinical Trials
- Research Integrity
- Research Integrity Advisors
- Ethics FAQs
- Research Contracts
- Research Performance Reporting and Analytics
- Discover our Research and Testing Facilities
- JCU Ideas Lab
- Find an Expert
- Contact JCU Connect
- FAQs and Fact Sheets
- JCU Eduquarium
- JCU Events
- JCU Global Experience
- JCU Ideas Lab
- JCU Job Ready
- JCU Motorsports
- JCU Prizes
- JCU Sport
- JCU Turtle Health Research
- Language and Culture Research Centre
- Mabo Decision: 30 years on
- Marine Geophysics Laboratory
- New students
- Off-Campus Students
- Office of the Vice Chancellor and President
- Virtual Open Day
- Outstanding Alumni Awards
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to university
- Planning for your future
- Professional Experience Placement
- Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease
- Rapid Assessment Unit
- Researcher Development Portal
- Safety and Wellbeing
- Contextual Science for Tropical Coastal Ecosystems
- State of the Tropics
- Strategic Procurement
- Student Equity and Wellbeing
- Student profiles
- TQ Maths Hub
- Unicare Centre and Unicampus Kids
- VAVS Home
- Work Health and Safety
- WHOCC for Vector-borne & NTDs
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
Adherence to good laboratory practice is important to avoid claims of scientific misconduct, to provide verification or reproduction of procedures and support for any patent protection based on the research. Correct laboratory notebooks are required in determining inventorship and/or date of invention.
In Australia, as in most countries, we have a “first to file” system, which means that the right to the grant of a patent lies with the first person to file the patent application for protection of that invention, regardless of the date on which the invention was actually made (“first to invent”).
As of March 16, 2013 the U.S. has switched from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system, thus bringing it into line with most other patent jurisdictions around the world. Regardless of the change, it is still encouraged that all researchers maintain good laboratory notebooks to document conception and reduction to practice of inventions.
The list below details some important procedures to ensure lab notebooks and experimental records are properly maintained.
NB: These procedures have been published by Griffith Hack, one of the patent attorney firms used by JCU, and thanks are due for their permission to reproduce them.
Records should be kept in a bound notebook with consecutively numbered pages. Records kept on a computer are not currently acceptable as evidence of invention.
Entries should be made in black pen, not pencil.
The date should be entered on each page.
New ideas and plans for experiments should be recorded.
The purpose of each experiment should be indicated.
Entries should be made directly in the notebook as the experiment is carried out. Results should be entered immediately as they are obtained.
Each experiment performed should be described in detail in the past tense.
If some of the experimental work is carried out by another person, the data generated by that person should be entered in the bound notebook as soon as the researcher receives it.
All non-standard terms and abbreviations should be defined in the notebook.
Some results may be difficult to enter directly into the notebook. Photographs, graphs etc should be stuck in, and signed and dated across the border to show that they have not been added later. Bulky results such as large computer printouts, may need to be kept separately. Some laboratories keep separate catalogues of signed and dated printouts numbered by consecutive catalogue numbers, with a description of the results and a cross-reference to the catalogue number entered in the notebook.
Incorrect entries should never be erased, but should be struck through with a single line.
Blank sections of pages should be drawn through with a single diagonal line.
Each page of the notebook should be signed and dated by at least one witness who can understand the experiment and, ideally, has observed the experiment; the witness should be someone who is not likely to be a co-inventor of any invention embodied in the experiment being witnessed.
Where possible, critical experiments should be conducted by someone who is not likely to be a co-inventor. A laboratory technician who is working under the direct instruction of the inventor, using standard manipulations, and who is not required to solve any problems in order to perform the experiment will probably satisfy this requirement.