Policies and Guidelines

When to approach the Core

If you are planning an experiment for which you would like SBC analysis support, the best time to approach the Core would be when you are collecting / preparing samples and prior to any data being generated. This is to ensure that good experimental design procedures are observed and that the experiment is sufficiently powered to answer your biological question of interest and any potential confounding factors have been addressed.

To quote R.A. Fisher

To consult the statistician after an experiment is finished is often merely to ask him to conduct a post mortem examination. He can perhaps say what the experiment died of.

What to Expect

An initial meeting, which is free of charge will then be scheduled to discuss your requirements and how the SBC can assist. The meeting will involve yourself, the SBC director, one of the analysis team, and ideally a representative of the facility you intend to use to generate your data. As a result of this initial meeting, the Core will determine whether the proposed project fits within their remit, or recommend referral to other local expertise; such as the faculty members that constitute the Bioinformatics Hub, or the Research Software Engineering group.

After the initial consultation you will receive a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will require your signature of the project P.I. before the Core’s work on the project can commence. This document clarifies your relationship with the Core for the duration of the project. The most appropriate analyst to execute the project will be selected and this analyst will be your point of contact throughout the analysis cycle.

Project management

We will also provide you with an time estimate and corresponding cost that can be used for grant-writing purposes. A start date for the project will also be agreed. The SBC will use project management software (currently Basecamp) to track progress on your project and keep you updated.

Best Practices

We employ established techniques in reproducible research and version control, and our analysis scripts can be made available to you on request or at the point of submission to a journal.


The SBC charge an hourly-rate of £66 for internal clients, and £74 per-hour for external clients. We will provide you with an estimate of the number of hours required, a quote and a start date as part of our Memorandum of Understanding. During the project you will receive detailed monthly billing updates and ongoing analysis results.

Please note that payment of fees for data analysis services and authorship are not mutually exclusive. Depending on their contributions to a project, SBC data analysts might be considered collaborators at the same level as other academic colleagues who contribute intellectually and receive funding for work on a project. The recovery of Core expenses through the recharge system does not exclude the possibility for authorship for Core personnel. Similarly, authorship does not substitute for payment of Core expenses for services rendered.


The SBC does not require or request co-authorship on studies using data generated solely by using off-the-shelf software on a fee-for-service basis by our facilities. However, in cases where significant intellectual contributions are made by SBC members, co-authorship follows commonly-accepted scientific practice.

In order to monitor our support service and satisfy institutional reporting requirements, we require clients acknowledge work performed by SBC in peer-reviewed publications in either one of the following two ways:

• in the acknowledgement section by stating that “The authors would like to thank [Name of Consultant] of the Sheffield Bioinformatics Core, The University of Sheffield for assistance with [services performed],” or

• in the appropriate body text section for which SBC provided a service by stating that “[Service] was provided by the Sheffield Bioinformatics Core, The University of Sheffield.”