Reblogged: Who cares about standard operating procedures?

Today I just wanted to highlight a great post on one of the core difference between academic and industrial labs, namely diligence in writing down detailed standard operation procedures (SOPs).

Coming from my PhD lab with the organic chemistry background, I have never realized the importance of this. After all, the synthetic techniques didn’t change too much for centuries and it shouldn’t matter, how you heat and steer your stuff in a round-bottom flask, right? Wrong! There are plenty of opportunities to reproducibly screw up your reaction, equipment or health when doing even the simplest operations like heating and cooling wrongly.

In the chemical biology lab the importance of SOPs is on the whole new level because the number of moving parts is so much larger than in synthesis. And yet, the best practices are mostly passed as folklore, from mouth to mouth, and never get written down properly.

I’m not saying that one absolutely needs to keep track of batch numbers of purchased reagents and material of gloves used for a particular operations (although it also may save your life sometimes). But I’m pretty sure that emphasizing importance of SOPs will improve reproducibility and expertise transfer inside any lab. And this ultimately will lead to better science.

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