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Articles on Law, Science, and Engineering

Scientific Misconduct: Part 3 - Standards for Scientific Record Keeping (cont'd)


Custodian of Notebooks

The custodian of business records is the usual vehicle for introducing business records into evidence under the business records exception. It should be ascertainable from the testimony of the custodian, or from the records themselves, that the four requirements for introducing business records are satisfied.

There should be a custodian for laboratory notebooks. The custodian need not be the notebook author, but should be someone responsible for keeping the books in an accessible but safe place. In some situations, the custodian needs to know only the whereabouts of each volume. However, in the case of confidential research, the custodian of laboratory notebooks should take whatever steps are necessary to maintain secrecy of their contents. This will help preserve any trade secrets contained in the books. In the case of lab books documenting inventions, it is advisable to maintain records in separate books that deposited to the care of a custodian on a weekly or even daily basis. This will help defeat charges of post-entry changes in data entries.

Next -- Protecting Notebooks
Previous -- The Hearsay Rule


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