Research Data Management (RDM)

Programme MSE is embedded within the Helmholtz Research Field Information and pursues both theoretical and experimental aspects of materials research. These approaches are interdependent, the former building and refining models for virtual materials design and the latter providing a vast amount of information on real materials properties across macroscopic to atomic length scales.



MSE has developed a strategy to ensure widespread use of ELNs in the programme

The systematic implementation of Research Data Management (RDM) is absolutely essential for an optimal (re-)use of data by the research community – enabling devising and refining models for virtual materials systems and for developing tailored materials and technologies with exceptionally useful properties. In particular with regard to the advanced analysis of data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the availability of curated data repositories is mandatory.


  • by the end of 2022 10-15% of MSE researchers use an ELN
  • by the end of 2023, 35 % of MSE researchers use an ELN
  • by the end of the PoF4 funding period in 2027 at least 80% of MSE researchers use an ELN

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs)

ELNs are a key enabling tool for RDM, in that they digitally document experimental data and metadata, which can be uploaded to the most appropriate data repository. Ideally, ELNs govern the workflow of the experiment, allow for the automatic input of experimental data from equipment used, provide a workspace to analyse data originating from several techniques, and allow for the upload of data either to a server or data repository.

The MSE programme at KIT is home to the development of the ELN Chemotion, the sister project LabIMotion as well as the materials data infrastructure Kadi4Mat which has an integrated ELN. There are also close links with the developer of eLabFTW.

The ELN Herbie is developed at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon and will soon be available as open source. The developers of the ELNs are already connected in several initiatives and collaborate in particular for the aim to be able to exchange data interoperably.

The ER-C at FZJ is currently installing a data-management system which can handle large sets of experimental data from the equipment at the research facility. The main ELN’s under consideration are: SampleDB which is developed at FZJ and eLabFTW

Scientists are encouraged to select an ELN most fitting to their needs. As an aid to this, an ELN selection tool is being developed by TU Darmstadt eln-finder.

Main factors to consider when selecting an ELN are:

  • suitability and adaptability to one’s own research and the nature of the research data,
  • the availability of dedicated support and open source software (particularly important for installation and coupling with technologies and data repositories), 
  • location and security of stored data,
  • compatibility/interoperability with other ELNs,
  • the transfer of data to suitable repositories,
  • availability of exit strategies, e.g. transfer to other ELNs in the case of discontinuation.

ELN Contacts in MSE


  • Chemotion&LabIMotion: Nicole Jung
  • Kadi4Mat: Michael Selzer
  • eLabFTW: Matthias Schwotzer


  • Herbie: Catriona Eschke, Fabian Kirchner


  • Sample DB: Florian Rhiem, Dieter Weber, Josef Heinen

ELN Events

Upcoming events

  • (there are currently no upcoming events)

Request an ELN event

Your Institute, department or research group would like to request a dedicated  ELN workshop or / hands-on-training  – please contact…

Past events

  • MSE day 22 Nov 2021
  • MSE ELN workshop 25 April 2022
  • KNMFi ELN implementation workshop 25 May 2022

KIT, FZJ, Hereon and HGF Research Data Management Links

MSE Links With NFDI

MSE Researchers from KIT, FZJ and Hereon, are involved in virtually all the Materials Science relevant NFDI consortia. The foci of these consortia are quite different and reflect the variety of the different communities and their different needs in terms of how data are accessible.  Several of these platforms develop and host ELNs and data repositories targeted at their communities and open to other users.

Whereas MSE scientists are active in different NFDI consortia; using an ELN is a central and crucial step in the digitalization of Materials Science as a whole.

Further details on data repositories and information on relevant events may be found on these external links.

Selected Data Repositories

If you regularly use a data repository, which may be useful for others in MSE, please send the link to be included here.