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Stock Centers Introduce User Fees

Randy Scholl scholl.1 at osu.edu
Tue Apr 1 12:10:46 EST 1997


                   Stock Centers Introduce User Fees

The Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC) and the Nottingham
Arabidopsis Stock Centre (NASC) have been providing stocks to researchers
for over five years, subsidized by the BBSRC in the U.K. and NSF in the
U.S.  It was the initial policy of both centers to provide resources to all
users free of charge.  This policy has served Arabidopsis research well and
fostered the  development of major research activity. Funding constraints
in both the U.S. and U.K. combined with the continually increasing variety
of and demand for stocks have resulted in a gap between the funds available
and those needed to provide these services.  Hence, both NASC and ABRC have
concluded that to best serve Arabidopsis research in the future, user fees
should be instituted.  Below, we outline the benefits and details of the
new modest user fee system.

Why user fees are now necessary.

The stock centers were initially established to preserve seed and DNA
stocks of Arabidopsis and to distribute these to anyone interested in using
these for research.  It was envisioned that mutant lines, ecotypes, clones
of individual genes and YAC and phage libraries would be received and
distributed.  The budgets for the first five years of both centers were
developed on these bases.  All of the initially proposed seed items have
been incorporated into the NASC and ABRC collections, and all of the
initially envisioned DNA stocks are included in the ABRC holdings.  In
addition, many stocks, not initially existing, also have been placed into
the collections.  Most notable of these on the seed side are pooled samples
of several thousand T-DNA transformants.  BAC and P1 libraries, filters
made from large-insert libraries and the 30,000 ESTs represent DNA stocks
currently maintained and distributed which were not initially planned.
Demand for all of the above stocks has been exceedingly high, resulting in
larger than anticipated supply expenditures.  In spite of this, the centers
have managed to operate within their originally allocated budgets.

As we plan for the future, it is expected that funding for the Centers from
both U.S. and U.K. funding agencies will decrease with time, while still
providing significant financial support.  This is in keeping with the very
tight overall support of research from governments. However, demand for
current stocks is still increasing, and there are many new stocks which
clearly should be incorporated into our collections and distributed.  The
potential new stocks include vastly increased holdings of T-DNA and
transposon lines, more large-insert libraries (probably including those
that will be associated with the Arabidopsis sequencing project) and pooled
DNAs for PCR probing of both of the above resources.

It has been agreed by the Advisory Committees of both centers to initiate
some user fees.  It is felt that the fee schedules outlined in the
following section can accomplish all of the above goals.  We hope that you
will find the fees modest and not onerous. The anticipated revenues from
the user fees described below will account for less than 20% of the total
(direct plus indirect) support of either center from outside
sources.  Also, the stocks centers will not in any case realize profits on
any stocks. Rather the fees recover some of our handling and materials
costs.

The charging system for Arabidopsis stock centers.

The charging policies of the Arabidopsis centers are designed to raise some
necessary operating funds while adhering to the following principles:  1)
Keep costs to users as low as possible; 2) Minimize paperwork for users and
the centers; 3) Charge as equitably as possible relative to individual
usage while keeping the pricing structure simple.

Based on the above criteria, the charging policy is as follows. Annual
"general" fees based on usage levels will be collected from each laboratory
ordering stocks from a stock center. Also, some large groups of seed stocks
and major DNA stocks will have individual fees. The usage levels
determining the general fees are:

1. Occasional users.  Users ordering 10 or fewer individual stocks in a
single order per year will be considered "occasional" users and will not be
asked to pay a general fee.  Hence, these stocks will be provided free of
charge.

2. Small quantity users. If a laboratory orders at least 11 but does not
exceed 100 stocks in either the seed or DNA category from ABRC, it is a
small quantity user (with the higher of the two classifications determining
the usage level). Hence, the classification is not based on the sum of seed
and DNA stocks ordered, but rather on the larger order total of the two.  A
laboratory ordering 11-100 NASC stocks is a small quantity user.

3. Large quantity users.  If a laboratory orders at least 101 but does not
exceed 200 stocks in either the seed or DNA category from ABRC, it is a
large quantity user (with the higher of the two classifications determining
the usage level). A laboratory ordering 101-200 NASC stocks is a large
quantity user.

For laboratories exceeding the 200-stock limit, proportional additional
fees will be requested.

North American users are expected to order from and pay general fees to
ABRC, and European users are expected to order and pay general fees through
NASC. Laboratories in other locations may establish their primary
affiliation with either center.  Users will need only to pay the annual fee
to one center for seeds.  If it becomes necessary to order from the second
center, there will be no additional charge.  In such cases, the total
number of stocks ordered at both centers will determine the general fee
category.  However, DNA-only supplemental general affiliations to ABRC are
available to NASC subscribers at 1/2 the regular rates.  In no case will
double (full) fees to ABRC and NASC be charged.  The pricing/fee structure
for current stocks is outlined below:

ABRC general fee for all North and South American users:

        High users:                             $400
        Low users:                               200

NASC general fee for all users:

        High users:                              260 pounds
        Low users:                               130

ABRC general fees for other users:

  Seed:

        High users:                             $400
        Low users:                               200

  DNA:
                                With NASC or ABRC           Without any
                                seed subscription:            seed subscr.:

        High users:                         $200                $400
        Low users:                           100                 200


The current stocks for which individual charges will be assessed are sets
of T-DNA pools, recombinant inbred sets, large-insert libraries and filters,
pooled DNA from large-insert libraries and pooled DNA from T-DNA lines.
The cost of these will be essentially proportional to the number of stocks
in the group.  The individual costs of these are published on our Web
pages.  Ordering of these stocks does not require a general fee nor
contribute to a laboratory's user size classification.

Shipping costs will be added to the invoice for all orders requiring
special handling.

Implementation of the charging policy.

The charging system is effective as of April 1, 1997. From this date, you
simply order stocks as previously, and we will send an invoice along with
your stocks when you have qualified for a usage level and/or for stocks
which have specific associated costs. Please be sure to include the name of
the person in charge of the laboratory on all orders, since we must have
this information to process the order. We expect that laboratory heads will
ensure prompt payments of all invoices, and we expect to keep our
administrative costs low by engaging in minimal re-billing.  To make the
transition to this charging system as easy as possible, the payment date
for all annual fees invoiced this month will be May 1 rather than
immediately due.  Also, the period to which the first annual fee applies
will extend through April 30, 1998.  Combining of orders as much as possible
from individual laboratories will reduce paperwork at both ends.  All
questions regarding invoices should be directed to the appropriate stock
center.

Payments should be made by check to The Ohio State University in U.S.
Dollars for ABRC and to University of Nottingham in Pounds Sterling for
NASC. All payments should be sent directly to the appropriate stock center,
and not to any other university office.  Note that for certain European
Community countries a 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) will be added for NASC
orders.  The period covered by the first general fee will be April 1, 1997
through April 30, 1998.  The general fees cover all individuals working in
a single laboratory except that the stock totals determining usage levels
for a laboratory are based on the combined orders to both centers.

NOTE, that for any laboratory which needs a particular stock(s) but which
cannot afford the associated charge, we will send the stock free of charge.

Our primary goal remains to serve Arabidopsis researchers, and the funds
generated by this system will allow us to serve you even better.  Feel free
to contact either  ABRC or NASC if you have questions or comments regarding
this policy.  Since this represents a new dimension to our operations, we
hope that you will be understanding as we implement this system.  We
encourage any comments or suggestions you may have regarding these charges.
We are certain that improvements can be made as we gain experience.

The mailing addresses for payment of fees and questions about invoices are
the same as for ordering stocks:

Arabidopsis Biological Resource              Nottingham Arabidopsis Stock
        Center                                      Centre
Ohio State University                        Department of Life Science
309 Botany & Zoology Bldg.                   University of Nottingham
1735 Neil Avenue                             University Park
Columbus, OH 43210 USA                       Nottingham, NG7 2RD, U.K.

email and Web addresses:

arabidopsis+ at osu.edu                         arabidopsis at nottingham.ac.uk
http://aims.cps.msu.edu/aims/                http://nasc.nott.ac.uk/

Feel free to contact us by electronic mail or other means if you have
questions.








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