What is a reasonable consulting fee?

Diana G. Horton dhorton at VAXA.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU
Fri Nov 29 12:15:18 CST 1996

I was recently asked to identify some mosses for someone who plans to use
them in studies of heat shock proteins.  Apparently, this person has been
looking at heat shock proteins in vascular plants, and plans to move on to
the mosses.  I explained that if this is funded research, I charge a $50/hr
consulting fee; if it is not funded, there is no charge.  The answer came
back (I was asked by a third party) that it is funded research, but that the
person doing the research would like to know if I would be willing to accept

I am annoyed by this response because a) $50/hr doesn't even match my salary,
and most certainly doesn't include 48% overhead if I do it through the
university, which would be useful to me politically, and b) I really wonder
if this researcher would be willing to work for less than his/her salary.
Also, I think that it could be argued that having the organisms correctly
identified is (or should be) a crucial aspect of the research that should
warrant an authorship, let alone salary plus overhead.

Am I way off base?

-- Diana Horton

Herbarium 312 CB
Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA  52242

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