Lesson 7 of 8

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Here we will talk about electronic signing and witnessing that is a required ELN feature for scientists working in regulated environments such as GLP and ISO 17025 accredited laboratories. According to FDA guidelines, electronic signatures are considered to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

Electronic signatures functionality is enabled in SciNote Advanced and Professional versions only. Nevertheless, it can be useful to understand the use of electronic signatures, so we encourage all other users to read through.

Let’s begin!

Signing and co-signing tasks

In SciNote, you can electronically sign or co-sign (witness) specific tasks that were completed within projects. The tasks are usually the records that correspond to daily units of work and are currently the only records in SciNote that can be signed or witnessed.

When a task is signed, the date, time, and name of the person who signed it are automatically recorded. It is also possible to co-sign a task if there are at least two levels of supervision within your team. In SciNote, different project roles determine whether a person can electronically sign a task, and who can co-sign it.

Signing the task in SciNote actually means locking the task. This prevents any further modifications to the task such as adding comments, results, or assigning samples. Once the task is locked, you can still unlock it for further editing if you have the proper permissions to do so.

Electronic signatures permissions are accredited to the project members that have one of the following roles: OwnerUser, and Technician. This means they have permission to sign and co-sign specific tasks that were completed within projects.

To electronically sign the task, click the Lock task button in the task overview, under the PROTOCOLS tab.

After that, a window appears where you need to enter your user credentials. Electronic signatures are unique (based on the user email address and password), therefore, they cannot be reused or reassigned to anyone else. Optionally, you can also state your reason for e-signing the task and notify another person to review and co-sign the task by tagging them in the Comment field using @ symbol.

To finalize your electronic signature, click the blue Sign and lock task button in the bottom right corner.

Once the task is signed, the status changes to Task completed (dd/mm/yyyy), locked and the due date color on the task card turns green.

After the task is locked, another user can co-sign it – this is the second level of supervision. For example, after the technical lead reviews and signs (locks) the task, the project manager can co-sign it.

Co-signing (witnessing) can be done by another project member who has access to the same task and the appropriate project role. The same task can be co-signed several times by different witnesses i.e. those responsible for its validation.

If you need to co-sign (witness) the task, simply open the task and select the Co-sign task button under the PROTOCOLS tab in the task overview on the right. After that, enter your user credentials and click the blue Sign and verify task button.

Note that overriding the signatures is not possible and signed tasks cannot be co-signed by the same user. 

Unlocking tasks

For unlocking a signed task, you must have a higher role than the original signer, e.g. if you signed the task as a Technician, only the User or Owner can revoke your signature. In case of signing the task as an Owner, only another Owner can unlock the task.

To unlock the task, open the task, and select the Unlock task button under the PROTOCOLS tab in the task overview on the right. Then enter your user credentials and click the blue Sign and unlock task button.

The task will be unlocked and other users with an appropriate project role will be able to perform further modifications.

Furthermore, electronic signatures are automatically recorded under the SIGNATURES tab in the task overview. Here you can see all the information when the task was signed (locked), co-signed (witnessed) or unlocked and who added their e-signature.


Practice

  1. Log into your shared SciNote Premium site that has a unique URL link (i.e. companyname.scinote.net).
  2. Invite colleagues to the project and assign them the appropriate project role.
  3. Invite project members to the task and notify them about co-signing the task.
  4. Sign (lock) the task and wait for your colleagues to co-sign it.
  5. Bonus: Unlock the task and edit it.

Feeling stuck?

Read the following articles:

Watch the following video tutorials:


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