Research data, including lab notebooks are the property of NC State University and MUST REMAIN IN THE PRIMARY LABORATORY at all times. If you must have access to the information outside of the lab, take copies and return the notebook to the lab immediately.
If this official policy of NC State University is not convincing, then read the government’s position on lab notebooks, citing from 45CFR93:
Burden of proof. (1) The institution or HHS has the burden of proof for making a finding of research misconduct. The destruction, absence of, or respondent’s failure to provide research records adequately documenting the questioned research is evidence of research misconduct where the institution or HHS establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly had research records and destroyed them, had the opportunity to maintain the records but did not do so, or maintained the records and failed to produce them in a timely manner and that the respondent’s conduct constitutes a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.
NC State University’s Research Policy in Intellectual Property states at section 12. 1 Guidelines for Record-Keeping…
- 12. 1. 1 Good practice is to use bound notebooks for records, making entries on a daily basis. This “diary” format provides among other things, a day-to-day chronology.
- 12. 1. 2 Use the notebook to record a conception (a complete description of an idea to accomplish a particular purpose or result), laboratory data and drawings. Each entry should be headed with a title and continued on successive pages.
- 12. 1. 3 Make entries in ink and do not erase or use correction fluid to cover errors. Draw a line through text or drawings to be deleted, and enter the material in corrected form. Draw a line through blank spaces on the page.
- 12. 1. 4 Separate sheets and photographs pasted to notebook pages should be referred to in an entry. Material that cannot be incorporated in the notebook should be keyed to an entry.
- 12. 1. 5 Sign and date all entries at the time they are made, and have them witnessed. A witness must be someone who has read the material and is capable of understanding it, yet has nothing to do with producing it. Secure additional witnesses when something important or highly unusual is discovered. Remember that an inventor and his or her potential co-inventors cannot serve as their own witnesses.
- 12. 1. 6 Set aside a time for making notebook entries and faithfully observe it. Arrange to have two or more colleagues serve as witnesses on a consistent, frequent basis.