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General Policies

Acknowledgment and Coauthorship

  • All publications and presentations containing/describing results obtained in the CharFac must include the following acknowledgment: "Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program."

    Why acknowledge?  Didn't I pay to use the CharFac?

    We ask all PI's to reiterate to their researchers the importance of this general, facility-wide and NSF grant acknowledgment, and apply to conference presentations as well as publications.  Such acknowledgments, apart from NSF mandate, can improve our university's ability to attract instrumentation grants.  Additionally they provide visibility and thereby foster greater usage by both internal and external clients, aiding our ability to upgrade instrumentation, keep charge rates low, and provide expert training, assistance and analytical services.

  • In many cases the degree of staff involvement rises to such a level that individual acknowledgment (by name) is appropriate.  Importantly this communicates to the reader the nature of expertise and cooperation one can find in the CharFac, again bolstering our competitiveness.

  • In a few cases the intellectual contributions to research by CharFac staff scientists rise to the level of co-authorship as governed by Regents policy and covered in RCR training.  Please make sure your researchers understand this concept and communicate to you the nature of charfac staff contributions to their work.  Opportunities for co-authorship are critical to attracting and retaining expert staff, and hence our ability to compete with core analytical facilities at peer universities.

    Using Facility Instruments

    You must have a valid budget number and appropriate training on the instruments before using them without assistance.  Once you have been trained, you may not train co-workers.  Everyone must be trained by a Characterization Facility staff member. Furthermore, you must notify us by email of any changes to your account, i.e., new budget number, phone number, departure from the University, etc.

    • There is a 48-hour cancellation policy for instrument time.
      Sessions cancelled less than 48 hours in advance will be charged in full.
    • Instrument time is charged in 30-minute increments. Some instruments have a 1-hour or 2-hour minimum time slot. Billed instrument time begins at the earlier of the reservation start time or sign-in time through the later of the reservation end time or sign-out time. Thus the very first task of a session is sign-in, and the very last is sign-out.
    • Staff time is charged in 30-minute increments.
    • All users not scheduling and using the instrument within 2 weeks of training must schedule (and pay for) an additional assistance session.
    • All users that have a lapse of 3 months or more in their usage MUST FIRST e-mail the specialist for permission to use the instrument and at the specialist's discretion, schedule an initial assisted session of up to 2 hours to reinforce their operation skills.
    • It is incumbent on all users, implicit in user privileges, to communicate all major problems (those that seriously disrupt normal operation) to the pertinent staff specialist immediately when possible. Troubleshooting can be difficult or impossible if the lab session has been terminated by the user such that symptoms are no longer diagnosable. It is not acceptable to simply type a message into the comments field of the log and walk away! Staff effort in assessing a problem may be charged to the userís account if immediate communication has been willfully neglected.
    • Users are forbidden from attempting to repair any faulty system, whether a system abruptly stopped working, or was damaged during a user's session, or was discovered to be damaged by a user upon beginning a session (i.e., due to a previous user). Such tinkering will trigger repair charges if it worsened the problem.
    • Although routine wear and tear costs are covered by the CharFac (via revenues generated by user fees), all users must assume financial responsibility (parts, labor, shipping) for equipment damaged by overt user error. Clear statements are given during training about the care one must take to avoid damaging equipment during configuration procedures. (And if one drops a piece of sensitive equipment such that it breaks, this mistake cannot be considered "normal wear and tear".) Additional costs resulting from down time and staff effort in addressing the problem will be considered. In any case a dialog with the PI(s), to discuss the offense, is presumed; in some cases cost sharing may be considered.

    You must adhere to these rules:

    1. Sign in on the instrument using the Charfac Web sign-in at the beginning of your session and don't forget to sign-out after you log-off the instrument computer.
    2. Make note of any problems
    3. Report all breakages to staff as soon as possible
    4. Bring SEM samples to be coated at least 24 hours before session time
    5. Do not leave samples or chemicals on lab benches
    6. Clearly label all chemicals and hazardous waste with the date, your name, and your code number
    7. After hours access to Shepherd Labs and the Characterization Facilities requires a U-Card.  Access is controlled by UofM Department of Security and we send request to them to activate card for access.  For non-UofM users, you can purchase an access card for $50.

    These items are not allowed in the facility:

    • Wet shoes or boots
    • Chemicals, unless you get specific permission and training from our safety officer.

    Using Facility Printers and Computers

    Please review the University's policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.

    Please note: We have no permanent data storage facilities.  Do not store your data files on the computers or the file servers in the facility.  Files more than one month old are subject to erasure without prior notice.

    Printers and computers are for facility use and research ONLY.
    DO NOT use them for any other personal, professional, or academic affairs.

    For your convenience...

    We sell a variety of supplies including: SPM probes and specimen discs, CR-R and DVD+R and -R discs.

    We have a limited number of storage drawers and cabinets for use by frequent users.  Please see the Front Office staff to request an application.  A $25 deposit to cover key loss and cleanup is required.  When you no longer require the storage, please empty the drawer/cabinet and return the key to room 12 for your deposit refund slip, that can then be redeemed at the Bursar's Office in Williamson Hall.

    Thank you for your cooperation and adherence to these policies.