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Former editor to launch UK version of Aussie site

A former regional editor who went to Australia to set up a successful online news venture is set to launch a UK version of the site.

Andrew Jaspan, whose CV includes the editorships of The Observer, The Scotsman and the Sunday Herald, launched The Conversation in Melbourne in March 2011.

Within two years, the site was generating more than 850,000 unique visits each month – and he is now planning to launch a UK version in May.

Editor-in-chief Andrew, who has also served as editor of Scotland on Sunday and The Big Issue in London, said he was delighted to see The Conversation expand and plans to announce his London editorial team within weeks.

“The success in Australia has shown there is huge public demand for independent, high-quality, authenticated, and trusted content,” he said.

“I am confident The Conversation will very quickly establish a similar reputation and audience in the UK.”

The  not-for-profit site features a range of news, analysis, features, and commentary from the university and research sector, with more than 5,000 academic contributors and 15 commissioning editors.

The UK version will follow a similar model with 13 universities set to be involved alongside The Wellcome Trust, The Nuffield Foundation, the Scottish Funding Council and the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and for Wales.

The UK site is set to look much like the Australian version, featuring news, analysis and features from academics

Andrew said that the UK Conversation would follow the Australian site’s policy of Open Access, being free to read and publishing all content under a Creative Commons licence.

Prof Paul Curran, vice-chancellor of City University London, has welcomed the launch.

“The Conversation will provide the country’s academics with a new and innovative way of communicating directly with the public,” he said.

“Universities are passionate about their research and The Conversation will enable them to communicate its importance and potential impact in an accessible and relevant way.”