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Bioinformatics Core Policies


Prior to the start of the project

It is best to consult a bioinformatician before collecting data so that issues such as sample size and power, experimental design, nuisance variables, randomization, and data management can be addressed in the planning stage. If you are working with the RTSF genomics core and are interested in support from the bioinformatics core, please let the genomics core know so we can coordinate planning meetings.

If the data have already been collected, bioinformatic consultants can suggest methods based on how the project was designed and how the data were collected including using methods to extract useful information from problematic data, if necessary. 

Expectations and responsibilities of the investigator

At the start of consultation, it is important for investigators to have a clear goal in mind for their projects as well as a general plan for data generation and collection.  A bioinformatician can then provide suggestions to both address questions the investigator may have as well as raise concerns about design, including statistical power, confounding variables and complications tied to certain techniques and data types. Bioinformatics consultation, particularly during the initial meeting, is a dialogue so open and clear communications for both sides is essential.

Project queue

Please note that, while we hope to consult with investigators prior to data collection, projects with available data take priority in our queue. In other words, we have a first-data-in, first-results-out policy regardless of when the initial consultation takes place. Likewise, if a consultant is waiting for additional data or instructions from an investigator for a long period of time, they are free to complete projects with all of the necessary information provided in the interim. 

Raw data storage

While we plan to store the raw data for most projects for three years, we highly recommend that the investigator archives an additional copy of any raw data. 


An invoice will be provided after the analysis is complete or at the end of the fiscal quarter, whichever comes first. Fiscal quarters wrap up at the ends of September, December, March, and June.


It is our policy that the bioinformatician should be considered for authorship using the same criteria as any other collaborator. See the Michigan State University Guidelines on Authorship.

Acknowledging the Bioinformatics Core

If the consultant's work does not rise to the level of authorship, please recognize the core’s contribution in the Acknowledgement section of your publications: “We acknowledge support from the Michigan State University Bioinformatics Core”.