ARIN: 1800 users and growing

More than 1800 people are now using ARIN for online booking and instrument usage reporting, and over 17,255 reservations have been made.

First published: 23/06/2014

Updated at: 26/06/2014 at 11:26 am

More than 1800 people are now using ARIN for online booking and usage reporting of platform technologies.

It’s early days yet for the Australian Research Infrastructure Network with a total of 17,255 reservations made on the system in 2014 and the number is growing as the system proves its worth to facilities and researchers.

Using the Australian Research Infrastructure Network (ARIN) software, researchers are able to book equipment and services at different facilities across multiple institutions. The list of institutions, service providers and equipment is expanding as VPTN facilities opt in to the program and purchase ARIN licenses.

Monash Histology Platform has been one of the first service facilities to adopt the ARIN system. Facility manager, Camilla Cohen can see the benefits of having cross institutional booking software. She has been involved with the testing program since inception and the Platform has over 150 registered researchers using the system.

“It opens up the opportunities for communication and collaboration with researchers across the VPTN network,” Camilla said.

“Recently a request came from a user at an off-site location to perform some microtomy work, so I asked them to create an ARIN user account and request access to the facility. When they came in for training and to use the equipment, we discussed their needs in more detail and I then gave them wider access to all of our equipment and services.

“That person then passed on our details to a collaborating researcher from a private company who called asking to use our expertise.  Simply by being a registered ARIN user they can also request access to use equipment at other facilities,” she said.

“ARIN also makes it easier for facility managers to contact the researcher, generate automated email replies, run invoices, check back on usage times and dates, and easier for the user to make or change their own bookings.  All the information is in the one place.

“Prior to this system, the Histology Platform had relied on manual diary entries for booking instruments and collating billing information, but often the users ran over time or didn’t show up. Online booking forces people to be far more business-like about making or cancelling appointments because their bookings are logged and their usage invoiced.

“Feedback from users to date has been positive. The researchers themselves and the Chief Investigators or departmental managers can monitor usage levels and how much they have spent from a given funding source. Facility managers can generate numerous monthly reports from usage data; number of hours the equipment is utilised, busiest time of the day, sample tracking and accounts for invoicing each month to name just a few. This is a significant improvement over the previous manual system,” said Camilla.

Tina Luke, Facility Manager at ImmunoID Flow Cytometry Facility, University of Melbourne has recently joined the ARIN network, and says “One of the great things about ARIN is that it can allow all the instruments within the University to be visible. For example, if an analyser is booked solidly or breaks down, researchers can look for another analyser with a similar configuration, on campus.

“Users can access the information about the instrument configurations during the booking process and when booking the sorters, they are prompted to answer questions about their set up requirements.

“We currently have three sorters and five analysers available for booking and ARIN allows us to restrict booking times based on the level of assistance required. It will also allow us to track usage and booked time and invoice the greater of the two ensuring maximum utilisation,” Tina said.

Improved access to facilities via ARIN enables the incredible skills and knowledge base within core facilities to reach a much wider environment, and provide open access to state of the art technologies, equipment and the network of research professionals.

The VPTN network provides commercial and academic researchers to access world class publicly funded infrastructure from VPTN members. The ARIN software enables these researchers to better identify and easily book participating facilities to get the best research results possible using the expertise available.

The development of the ARIN system has been funded under a Victorian Government grant. For more information email ARIN Manager Andrew@vptn.org or go to www.arin.org.au. You’re free to create a login, select an institution, a facility and browse the equipment available.

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