The following is a short discussion of the future of the Fluid Inclusion Research Volumes that was held during May 1997


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Dear Fellow Inclusionists:

In 1989 responsibility for typing, printing and distributing the annual Fluid Inclusion Research volumes (FIR) was transferred to Virginia Tech. This transfer took place because Ed Roedder had retired from the USGS and as a result lost access to secretarial help to type the camera-ready copy, and the University of Michigan Press decided that they did not want to continue to act as distributor for the volumes. It now appears that Virginia Tech may no longer be able to continue to provide this service to the fluid inclusion community. Each year the cost of producing the volumes has exceeded the income by about $500 - $1,500 (US). In the past, I have been able to get some support from my Department Chair to cover the annual losses, or I have covered these losses from my own research funds. With the severe budget cutbacks that our Department and University have experienced during the past several years, and the increasing difficulty of generating external research funds, I do not believe that I can continue to subsidize the typing, printing and distribution of FIR. I am sending this note to the fluid inclusion community to solicit advice on what to do. There are several options, including:

(1) discontinue the FIR volumes;

(2) raise the price of the volumes so that we break even on each issue;

(3) transfer the responsibility of typing AND distributing FIR to another institution;

(4) transfer the responsibility of typing FIR to one or several institutions, all of whom would be acknowledged on the cover page of each volume.

(5) solicit donations to help meet expenses.

I don't think that anyone who is active in fluid inclusion research wants to see FIR discontinued - I certainly don't. The volumes are a valuable source of information that many inclusionists use regularly.

Raising the proce is probably not an option. We have raised the price only once in the past 7 years, and when we did so I received several angry letters and phone calls, and many cancellations from people saying they could no longer afford to buy FIR. I expect that if we raise the price, the number of cancellations will offset the expected increase in income from the price increase.

If anyone is willing to take on the responsibility of typing, printing and distributing FIR, that is an option that could work.

The FIR problem can be solved most easily if there was someone available to type the volumes, either on a volunteer basis (i.e., for free) or at a rate low enough to permit the volumes to be produced with no loss (option #4)

If any of you have access to an experienced typist who could prepare the camera-ready copy, that would solve the problem. Based on 6+ years of experience here, it takes about 400-500 hours to type each volume. So, this means we would need about 8-10 hours of a typist's time per week to complete a volume in a year. If anyone can offer such secretarial services, please contact Ed Roedder or me. If several people could provide secretarial help for some portion of the needed 500 hours, it might be possible to divide the typing responsibilities among several institutions, all of whom would share in the cxredit for producing the volume. If someone is able to do the word-processing, I would be willing to continue to have the volume printed and distributed from Virginia Tech, since we have the infrastructure in place to print and distribute the volumes.

Donations to help make up the difference could work if we could generate about $1,000 each year, but I do not think that is likely.

A final possibility that I have not listed above is a small grant from a government agency or from industry to help cover the deficit. That would also solve the problem. If anyone has suggestions along these lines, let me know.

Sincerely,

Bob Bodnar

Dr. Robert J. Bodnar
Professor of Geochemistry
Director, Fluids Research Laboratory
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Tel: (540) 231-7455 (O)
(540) 953-2448 (H)
Fax: (540) 231-3386
e-mail: bubbles@vt.edu
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Dear Bob:

just a hurried note at this time - we are in end-of-term-finish-everything mode.

1. the FIR should definitely be continued - would be too much of a loss if it were not. and you deserve much credit for having kept it going for so long.

2. the readership should be able to support a mild price increase - not to exceed inflation. but not to raise the price for 7 years guarantees problems, and every reader should know this. i think there is virtue in not raising the price - it looks good. but it catches you after a while, and then the needed price increase is so large that you are bound to catch flack.

3. is there any possibility of lowering the price by having contributions delivered on floppy disk wherever possible, avoiding new typing to the extent it can be avoided? that would spread the burden.

4. if you advertise in the economic geology newsletter, may be that would be one way to generate carry-over funds? i would certainly be willing to contribute to the effort by yearly or occasional donations, and i would be surprised if a call to all those on the network would not yield a substantial sum every year. but i may be naive on this point.

with best regards,

Half Zantop

Half.Zantop@Dartmouth.EDU

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Dear Bob and other inclusionists,

A note to say that I agree with Half Zantop's comments regarding FIR, and particularly his accolade for your and Ed Roedder's efforts with the volumes to date.

To confirm:

1. FIR should definitely continue if at all possible.

2. The readership should expect regular reasonable price increases, and perhaps a one-off major hike this year.

3. Electronic submissions from contributors would spread the load and minimize duplicate typing.

3a. Go soft, and produce the volume on disk (cf. AGU's EASI). That would eliminate printing and reduce postage costs, PLUS it would make the volumes searchable and remove the need for constructing an index.

4. A call for donations perhaps, but public begging looks a bit weak. A call to subscribers with the next volume might work, or an additional line for voluntary donations on the invoices....

4a. I would have thought societies such as SEG, MSA, MAC, etc. might be approached for a small annual contribution. If the funds sought are really only on the order of a thousand dollars then they might be amenable.

Finally, can the job be broken down into smaller bite-sized pieces that more of us might be prepared to take on? If so, you might have a volunteer!

All the best,

Jeremy

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Jeremy Richards
Dept. Geology
Univ. Leicester
Leicester
LE1 7RH, UK
jpr4@le.ac.uk
0116-2523934 (direct)
0116-2523933 (main office)
0116-2523918 (fax)

NOTE NEW ADDRESS FROM JULY 1997
Dept. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Alberta
Edmonton
Alberta, T6G 2E3
Canada
Phone (403) 492 5249
(fax) (403) 492 2030
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Dear Bob et al.

I started to send this directly to Bob, but in view of Half's and Jeremy's comments regarding FIR, perhaps wider "discussion" of these issues is merited (with apologies to the internet overlords).

Clearly the flinc community owes you and Ed (and Harvey and Andrezej) for the considerable effort that it has taken to produce the FIR volumes. Anyone who has ever been involved in producing a "volume" of any sort understands what an effort it takes. Certainly it is unreasonable for you to be expected to operate at a loss, i.e. to have to use your funds to cover the production costs.

Some thoughts, building on previous comments:

1. A price increase is overdue and probably should be enacted to cover the current shortfall. No figures have been mentioned about actual FIR sales, so I'm not sure what this translates into in terms of an actual increase per volume. Development of a dual price structure, e.g. individual and institutional, could be considered, trying to hold the price to individuals close to the present (to minimize the nasty letters) and advancing the institutional rate (I know, this is nasty business, and our librarian is already leading the protests, but such actions may be required for FIR to survive). Again, the actual sales figures determine whether this would work.

2. I assume that most contributions already are submitted via some electronic means, but if not, this would save a lot of typing in Bob's shop.

3. Society contributions probably are possible, with the possible red flag raised by some that this might be precedent setting for various societies to support external projects. The ideal would be to get several groups to commit to multiple years at a lesser per year rate, although they might want to see the first-year results as a trial before committing long term.

4. I would support the eventual development of a CD-ROM format for the reasons Jeremy suggests, plus a few others. Besides improving the utility of the information via searching capabilities, the quality of such items as diagrams and photos would be greatly improved. The production cost would be much less than a paper version and the cost to users could be reduced, even after the current shortfall is accounted for. Producing a CD-ROM with perhaps two years of FIR might be more feasible, and even a version with the last 10 years available would be extremely useful and could be marketed separately. Storage of the excess stock is not as major an issue as it must be for Bob at the moment. I don't think this is an immediate solution, but could be considered for the longer term.

Bob, let me know if I may provide assistance in any of these.

Regards to all, Rich

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J. Richard Kyle, Professor
Department of Geological Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1101

Phone#: 512-471-4351
Fax#: 512-471-9425
e-mail: rkyle@mail.utexas.edu
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