Fees for services

Mark Ouellette Ouellettem at NHRISV.NHRC.SK.DOE.CA
Wed Apr 26 09:04:17 CDT 1995

As an non-entomologist, with an interest in taxonomy, I have found the
discussion on charging fees for identification and consulting services quite
interesting.  The recent letter from David Furth expresses my opinion
exactly.  Scientists in general have been abused and exploited by both the
business and public arenas for far too long.  Scientific work has value, not
only within the relevant discipline, but to society as a whole.  Scientists
should be compensated for both time and expertise.

While a certain amount of gratis advice can be expected by the tax-paying
public, it is important to distinguish between advice and work.  Two minutes
to direct someone to the appropriate identification key is not a great
burden, and may be considered as fulfilling societal obligations.  However,
actually identifying the animal is a professional service and should be

With the current reductions in government programs and funding in both
Canada and the United States, programs are coming under increased pressure
to implement user pay services.  I strongly suggest that entomologists sit
down with the bean counters in their organizations and determine the actual
cost of the services they provide, including administrative costs, and start
charging users accordingly.  Different organizations will have different
costs.  If this means that your organization is more expensive than
'competitors', then so be it.  There will either be fewer demands on your
time, permitting you to focus on your core responsibilities, or users will
recognize that your services have a different value.

While there will undoubtedly be initial resistance to paying for services,
this will fade with time.
Mark Ouellette
Email: Ouellettem at nhrisv.nhrc.sk.doe.ca
Phone: (306)975-6595
Fax:   (306)975-5143

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