Independent news and comment website The Conversation to launch in UK in May

The Conversation, an independent news and commentary website produced by academics and journalists, will launch in the UK in May.

The Conversation, which will operate on a not-for-profit basis, will source news, commentary and the latest research from the academic community. A team of professional journalists will work with academic authors to unlock their expertise, apply it to topical issues and make it available to the public.

Thirteen UK universities have committed support to the UK pilot phase of The Conversation, along with the Wellcome Trust, the Nuffield Foundation, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

The Conversation is committed to the open access movement and publishes all content under Creative Commons. The site is open and free for everyone to read. It is both a media resource, allowing republishing of all articles, and a source of story ideas and new voices to follow up for interview.

The UK service is a partnership with Melbourne-based The Conversation, which in less than two years has become Australia's largest independent news, commentary and analysis website. The Conversation in Australia receives more than 850 000 unique visits each month and with more than 5000 academic contributors and 15 commissioning editors, it is Australia's largest virtual newsroom.

The Conversation's founder and Editor-in-Chief is Andrew Jaspan. Jaspan is a former editor for the 'Observer', 'The Scotsman', 'Scotland on Sunday', the 'Sunday Herald' and 'The Big Issue', London. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Melbourne's 'The Age'.

The Conversation will announce its full London editorial team in coming weeks.