Forum: Bioinformatics cores pricing model
4
gravatar for reddy.dhivyaa
5 weeks ago by
reddy.dhivyaa80 wrote:

Hello everyone,

In the process of setting up a new core, and here to take suggestions/recommendations for the pricing model of the core services as to what works best in the long-term. I have a few cost models in mind, and wanted to see others thoughts on the same.

1) Charge on a hourly basis - This is charging the PI per hour charge (of the analyst time, not the computation time) say $100 for internal users, but the hard part is how to a prior estimate the actual number of hours that the analyst puts in ?? Will it make the PI unhappy if it goes beyond the estimated number of hours in the quote?

2) Scientists don’t like to hear that a project takes X hours, but they’re fine with $X per sample since that’s a metric they’re used to. Does that work as a core model? Say, for basic RNA-seq analysis up-to 15 samples costs say $100 per sample irrespective of the number of hours you put in?

3) Quotes based on the percent of efforts that the analyst puts in? Say its a long term project that requires customized analysis pipelines, then you quote the PI as follows: Analyst puts in 10% of his time on the project each month, and his salary is say $70k, then it will be around $583 (10% of 70000/12).

Any thoughts or more ideas appreciated. Thanks so much

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5 weeks ago by Charles Warden6.6k • written 5 weeks ago by reddy.dhivyaa80
4
gravatar for genomax
5 weeks ago by
genomax66k
United States
genomax66k wrote:

Note: If you are not a memmber already the I suggest that you join bioinfo-core group (http://bioinfo-core.org/index.php/Main_Page ). This is something regularly discussed in that group.

Model 1:

but the hard part is how to a prior estimate the actual number of hours that the analyst puts in ??

This is something you will start to get a feel for as you start analyzing datasets. In general to do a basic RNAseq DE analysis figure in 10-15 h of analyst time. This would, of course, not be actual hands-on time but overall time needed to get the data together, process it and write up a report.

Will it make the PI unhappy if it goes beyond the estimated number of hours in the quote?

When you provide the original quote clearly lay out the deliverables. Include a disclaimer about unforeseen issues. Make it clear that they will be charged for actual time used (so they could pay less in some cases). Communicate with PI if it looks like you will need more time well ahead and explain why that is so.

Model 2: May work if you know that you will get a guaranteed flow of X (substitute a large number) samples per month so you can appropriately adjust your costs based on time you will spend on the analysis.

Model 3: May be preferable for cores since that guarantees someone's salary for a period/amount. PI's can then get access to that person's time on a priority basis, when needed. You will find that for many projects data may arrive in month 9 and the analysis may need to be done in 30 days even though the person may have been supported for 10% of their time for 10 months.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5 weeks ago • written 5 weeks ago by genomax66k

Yes, I did join the bioinfo-core forum. Yes Model 3 seems to be the best so far except that model 1 can be used for routine analysis but people keep wanting more for their money's worth!

ADD REPLYlink written 5 weeks ago by reddy.dhivyaa80
1
gravatar for Jeremy Leipzig
5 weeks ago by
Philadelphia, PA
Jeremy Leipzig18k wrote:

#3 is the only one that can work in theory and even that doesn't work very often*

TBH I would argue against the principle of a creating a bioinformatics core if you don't have funding set aside. If a PI is serious they can hire dedicated staff and if they aren't, well you probably won't get much money from them anyway.

*source: worked in a core for 7 years

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5 weeks ago • written 5 weeks ago by Jeremy Leipzig18k

IKR! They always seem to think bioinformatics is FREE service for some reason. This is in a large setting so hopefully model 3 should work to some extent.

ADD REPLYlink written 5 weeks ago by reddy.dhivyaa80
1
gravatar for Charles Warden
5 weeks ago by
Charles Warden6.6k
Duarte, CA
Charles Warden6.6k wrote:

To be honest, I think there are some issues with considering analysis as a service, which many people may think is part of the core function. I hope to have some blog posts that kind of relate to what you are taking about, but it may not quite be the right time to post those yet. I also am also hoping to have some more high-level discussions with a larger number of people, but I am currently focusing on maximizing agreement with my supervisor (and, in terms of the discussion slides, I think it would really be best if portions of those ideas that are agreed upon are put forth by someone more authoritative at City of Hope, rather than myself).

However, these are some things that I think are important to consider:

1) I can tell that I need to work on fewer projects more in-depth. So, I think having limits on the number of projects / PIs could be important, but that is the sort of thing that I am trying to figure out. I've heard someone suggest a limit of no less than 5% effort, but I think some sort of limit of no more than ~5 PIs may be a good idea (but I don't know exactly what that limit should be, or whether that should be considered more of a guideline). For example, if my optimum number of PIs to support is 5 but I am trying to support 10, then that is going to either affect the quality of results for all of the projects or it will be difficult to provide fair support.

2) It is extremely important that people realize the "initial" results need additional critical assessment with several rounds of discussion / analysis before preparing a paper for publication. I always say "Round1" for those initial results, and I try to make this clear. However, I think there is some room for improvement in terms of setting appropriate expectations.

3) It is important that skill sets be gradually expanded, and project leads (in the labs) need to work on projects at a pace that doesn't compromise understanding. While the eventual blog post may be a little clear, I have some notes on first-author (or equivalent) comments / corrections here.

4) While there are a lot of details that I need to sort out (and I think having a per-sample charge for existing cores may help when needing to sort out a lot of details and work on changing expectations), I would learn towards suggesting a percent effort system in the future (but whether that is most suitable for a "core" versus a "department" versus a "training facility" is something that I am not entirely sure about).

5) Offering indirect support via training (instead of direct support where you keep track of the details for everybody's project, and are involved in publication) may also be an option worth considering

6) It's importance to realize that there is a certain amount of permanence to your projects - you can have questions / post-publication review 10+ years after your paper is published.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5 weeks ago • written 5 weeks ago by Charles Warden6.6k
1

Thanks for your detailed reply, makes so much sense. Sadly, many PIs still need to understand that everything cannot be quoted then and there, and that there is always additional rounds of analysis that is needed.

ADD REPLYlink written 5 weeks ago by reddy.dhivyaa80

I agree that there are a lot of challenges, and I am trying to wait to describe myself more precisely (in other mediums). However, I am very happy to see that there are a lot of people who want to participate with positive ideas in these discussions!

ADD REPLYlink modified 5 weeks ago • written 5 weeks ago by Charles Warden6.6k

Also, it kind of relates to 6), but it is also important to consider that long-term public support (for code / package that is part of a publication) be taken into consideration.

ADD REPLYlink modified 5 weeks ago • written 5 weeks ago by Charles Warden6.6k
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