How free is free?

16 March 2016 6:00 pm

Headington Hill campus

How free is free?

The more we thought about it, the more we felt we should call this event How ‘free’ is “Free”? Or is it just another tool in the marketing tool kit?.

“Free” has been a publishing buzzword that rallies the troops. It can mean ‘Knowledge wants to be free’ and a moral statement that is beyond question. Or it can mean that you can read the first chapter of a new eBook at no charge in the hope that you will then buy the rest of the file. It can mean both Gold and Green Open Access. It can mean that someone else is paying while I get content for nothing. Or that I am paying while someone else gets content for nothing. It can mean the end of our industry as we know it. Or it can be the way into the future.

The more we talked about it, we realised that we wanted to look at what the word means in the complex world of publishing in 2016.

So we have brought together a panel of people with experience of “Free” to explore the many facets of the idea.

Adam Swallow from OUP talks about the mixed economy where scholarly content is published in both print and digital format and in both priced and free models.

Hazel Cushion from Accent Press will explore her experience of playing with price or no price in the trade publishing market, driving digital and print sales volumes and value in genre fiction.

Anne Powell from INASP (that’s the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications) looks at what happens when even ‘free’ is too much – in academic and scholarly libraries in developing countries, and considers the experience of heavily-subsidised access to journal content through the Research for Life project.

Darin Brockman from Firsty Group which provides D2C (direct to consumer) digital platforms for publishing clients in the trade and academic sectors opens the lid on the discussions he has with their client publishers, on how they use and respond to “Free” and then try to use the powerful hook in their marketing.

It will be a profoundly practical session on an important issue for us all. Join us on 16 March at Oxford Brookes’ Headington Hill campus, in the Willow buildings, as we explore “Free”. Drinks, nibbles and networking from 6.00 pm. Talks from 6.45 to 9.00 pm.

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