The Cell Phenotyping Hub facilities in E6 are subsidised through different sources. While the School of Clinical Medicine, Departments, several individual groups and other funding bodies have contributed to the capital costs of equipment, initial salaries, initial service contracts for some instruments etc, the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre is in receipt of an NIHR Strategic Award, part of which is subsidising the running costs of the Hub.
The proportion of costs passed to the end user is only a fraction of the real economic costs. Indeed, in 2013/2014, the economic costs of using analysers or microscopes (without estate costs) are estimated to be ~£80 per hour including depreciation of equipment; sorting is estimated to be ~£330 per hour. Only ~20-25% of the full costs (£20 and £70 per hour of analysis and sorting, respectively) are currently charged to the end user, largely due to the effect of the NIHR award.
These figures make apparent that the Hub cannot be sustained at low cost to the end user without strategic funding by BRC. In order to be able to report back to the funding bodies and/or make a successful case for further capital funds for replacing equipment or for funding support scientist salaries, we need to provide corroborative evidence that the Hub is an instrumental resource enabling state-of-the-art science at the Clinical School.
One way of measuring the degree of scientific support and services is the number of publications produced with the support of the Hub. The transparent metric for that is an acknowledgment of using the services and of the funding for the infrastructure. Such an acknowledgement is merely a statement of fact that without Hub infrastructure, equipment and services, the conducted study would have been not be possible. We therefore request such an acknowledgement for all publications reporting data which have been generated using Hub facilities. Optionally, a personal contribution of an individual may be also acknowledged.
Below is the proposed wording of the acknowledgement:
‘This research was supported by the Cambridge NIHR BRC Cell Phenotyping Hub. In particular, we wish to thank (optionally list individuals from the Hub whose contribution you wish to acknowledge if any) for their advice and support in flow cytometry/cell sorting/imaging (delete as appropriate)’
In line with the policies of the Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities, in situations where Hub staff have contributed intellectually to a scientific study (e.g. by helping to design experiment, analysing data or outcome, making suggestions to experimental protocol for successful modification, interpreting scientific data, performing joint pilot experiments, helping to draft corresponding section(s) of the manuscript etc), none of which are subject to cost recovery charges, there may be a case for co-authorship for involved staff members.
There are clear guidelines on when and whether such co-authorship is not only possible but appropriate, and we urge our collaborators and users to consult these guidelines to consider whether acknowledgement or co-authorship is appropriate.