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Editor's blog Friday 6 May 2011: Health Policy Intelligence 6 'Plus ca change: the elections, health policy & politics' out now

Health Policy Intelligence is our new, weekly subscription-based analysis service.

The sixth issue, 'Plus ca change - what these elections tell us about health policy and politics', is now out.

Health Policy Intelligence is not available as free content. Subscription costs £8 a month / £69 a year for an individual. Increasing discounts are available to organisations wanting to subscribe for groups of more than 5 and 10 individuals.

A sample copy is available by request - to receive one, email with your name and job title to editorial AT healthpolicyinsight.com.

Why are you charging for content?
Since its launch in June 2008, Health Policy Insight has existed on 100% subsidy from my other work as a self-employed journalist and editor. It's been exciting learning, and the site has (readers have been kind enough to tell me) proven an independent and useful addition to what is available for readers in this area.

It has also demanded a huge amount more of my time over the past 18 months.

My aim now is to do two things: to keep Health Policy Insight mostly free; and to maintain its editorial quality - which is ultimately why you come here.

Regular readers will probably already appreciate that doing these two things won't be viable without my being able to get some income from it.

This is why I've launched Health Policy Intelligence as a new weekly summary and commentary on key policy issues. It's not a repeat of what I've written in the week (although it clearly will draw from it and link to it). It is something extra and new.

If you, the readers of Health Policy Insight, value what we do, I hope you will be willing to show that by paying for a new, additional service that will support what I make available here for free.

Why liberating the content doesn't work
There is a school of thought which suggests that all information-type content 'wants to be free'. I have some degree of sympathy with the philosophy, in the abstract. Athough it's a bit Freddie Mercury.

However, the unintended consequences hitting someone who creates content are that it's either necessary to subsidise your content-creating by other paid work (leaving too little time for actually creating the content to a very high standard, without gouging your personal free time to near-death); or it's necessary to seek revenue from sources like advertising or advertorial (which likewise saps the time and incentivises self-censorship).

Neither approach, ultimately, will lead to really good journalism or analysis unless the authors have a sufficient and reliable revenue stream from elsewhere. That isn't the case for me.

My case is that Health Policy Insight offers you something you do not get elsewhere in terms of editorial approach, independence and quality. The economics of producing it on 100% personal subsidy by me are unsustainable.

I'd like to be able to keep much of what I do in the common realm; to be able to afford to do that, I need revenue from this.

It's up to you.

I hope you'll do the right thing.

To subscribe, please email editorial AT healthpolicyinsight.com for details