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Why RIBAJ is changing the way you read it online

As you’ll have noticed, we have made enormous strides in developing your RIBA Journal over the past couple of years – investing in print and online.  We consulted the profession widely and in both cases we started from first principles: the results have been well received. Since then, our experts have been working behind the scenes to develop our editorial strategy further. New investment has given us the opportunity to cover more buildings, introduce you to exciting new columnists and contributors; add images and drawings; and open up an archive of past articles. Members and subscribers enjoy over double the amount of articles online and now the time has come to move on to the next stage: refining how RIBA members and honorary fellows, other subscribers and the world at large access the material we produce.

The RIBAJ is published by RIBA Enterprises and is required to be commercially self-supporting – a contributor to, rather than a drain on, the Institute’s finances. At the same time it is justly regarded as a key member benefit. That means that full RIBA members should get access to valuable material that is not necessarily open to all online – and that others should subscribe to enjoy the same access. This will help our balance sheet which in turn will help to support other RIBAJ and RIBA activities.

We have long had paying-subscriber readers – typically commissioning clients, libraries and members of associated professions – as well as RIBA member readers. But until now, we have not had sufficiently sophisticated technology to present and process a variety of access and subscription choices to suit everyone. Consequently, everything we publish online has been available for anyone to see. We have been giving away our goods for free. Now, working with the RIBA’s membership department and our digital agency, we have reorganised to continue giving full RIBA members and subscribers access to everything – while others will be gently encouraged to subscribe after viewing a certain number of articles free.

If you are a qualifying RIBA member who receives the Journal, an honorary fellow or existing subscriber, we ask you to register

If you visit and click on a link, you will see how the process now works. If you are an RIBA member who receives the Journal, an honorary fellow or existing subscriber, we ask you to register with your details to activate your full online access. You do not need to do anything to continue receiving the print RIBAJ. Others will be able to access up to three online articles per month for free. As they approach the end of their metered allowance, they will be offered a suite of subscription options to choose from to read more. This is a tried and tested model in other specialist publications.

To ensure the magazine’s online character is maintained and the appetites of potential subscribers whetted, beyond the metered content we will also present a certain amount of unrestricted online material – including contributions from our commercial clients, our competitions and live event details, and editors’ selections of representative articles.

With any change of this kind, there are bound to be further tweaks that we shall need to make as we monitor progress and respond to your comments – please send them to us at, or discuss them with us on Twitter @ribaj. We hope you see the sense of what we are doing, and that this represents the best way to ensure the continued and increasing vitality of your RIBAJ.