fees for services

Murray Fletcher fletchm at AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU
Thu Apr 27 08:49:41 CDT 1995

On Wed, 26 Apr 1995, Monique D. Reed wrote:

> I'm not sure how practical it would be for zoological, entomological, or
> geological collections, etc., but at Texas A&M we have found one way
> to turn plant identification services to our benefit without having to
> charge.
> It frequently happens that the Biology Department Herbarium is asked
> to identify a small number of plants for a member of the general
> public, an article writer, or a graduate student outside of the
> department.  In such cases, the answer is often, "Yes, we will gladly
> identify your plant, but we are keeping the specimen."  In this way
> we have added some very unusual plants to the herbarium without
> having to travel or collect.  Most folks are delighted to help out,
> and many will come back several more times just to bring us things
> they think we might like.  In other cases, where the material was not
> worth keeping, we have asked them to collect for us the next time
> they go somewhere interesting.  In the case of graduate students with
> many specimens needing identification, most are willing to leave
> their specimens in the collection--it serves as a voucher for their
> work and improves our collection.  Although we have not demanded it,
> I suppose it could be stipulated that the student come in and
> mount them as well.  <my two cents' worth
> Monique Dubrule Reed
> Herbarium Botanist
> Biology Department Herbarium
> Texas A&M University
> College Station, TX  77803
> http://www.isc.tamu.edu/FLORA/reedhome.html

We have also considered this question of charging for taxonomic services.
As an entomological collection associated with and supporting a range of
entomologists working in the agricultural field (in both senses in some
cases) the material that is submitted to us from farmers, pest controllers,
members of the public, nurserymen and so on, provide us with early notice
of any unusual insect or mite occurrence in our State. We are unsure what
effects introducing a fee for service might have on this flow of information.
It is probable that it would be minimal. Pest controllers and other
professionals in the agricultural/horticultural industries would still need
authoritative identification when a new insect appeared and hopefully would
seek such support. Any charge would be passed on. On the other hand, why
should a pest controller be charged for bringing to our attention an
infestation of a new pest when this service is so valuable to us? Do we
impose a charge and refund it if the specimen is of value to us? The
logistics and politics of that would be fascinating to operate. It is
these types of questions that have postponed our introduction of fees
on a general basis. We currently only charge for purely commercial work,
eg a food company has found a dead insect in a product, and the cost is
normally negotiated beforehand.

Murray Fletcher
fletchm at agric.nsw.gov.au
Curator of Collections
NSW Agriculture
Biological and Chemical Research Institute
PMB 10
Rydalmere NSW 2116

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