Following the launch of Regulatory Rapporteur on an online publishing platform earlier this year, our efforts are now focused on ensuring that we provide the best possible online journal experience for our members.


Regulatory Rapporteur


January 2023   |   Volume 20   |   No.1


Recent studies have shown that following its rapid adoption since the start of the 2000s, digital media has displaced the consumption of legacy media. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated a growing openness to this within science publishing, with researchers working on the virus response sharing preliminary results on preprint servers at unprecedented rates. Indeed, dozens of for-profit publishers – including Elsevier, Springer Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine – supported and promoted the sharing of coronavirus research. It was this adoption of online publishing that made the easy and, significantly, widespread sharing of early data findings possible in a global setting.

And while mass media may be shrinking in size relative to the wider economy, specialised forms media are now becoming increasingly important. New publishing models have emerged everywhere driven by changes in consumption habits to digital scenarios and especially with the rise of the smart phone.

As Nobel physicist Richard P. Feynman said: “I think that when we know that we actually do live in uncertainty, then we ought to admit it; it is of great value to realise that we do not know the answers to different questions. This attitude of mind – this attitude of uncertainty – is vital to the scientist, and it is this attitude of mind which the student must first acquire.” In other words, change is inevitable and when your future is in science then you need to be happy with the uncomfortable feelings that change can bring.


Regulatory Rapporteur’s online platform offers a wide range of functionality that intends to make its content more convenient to read and use, bookmark and give the user the ability to create their own library of articles. You can also search from previous issues or related subjects, and articles will include cross-referencing to aid reading and research. Additional media and content such as videos and podcasts can be added, and these will start to be introduced over the course of the coming year to help illustrate topics and bring them to life.

Journals, in general, are evolving into information platforms. So, when Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991, it was, in part, with the aim of facilitating scientific communication and the dissemination of scientific research. Our platform enhances the scope of the original paper journal – it is a networked model that can bring together users as consumers of the value of the peer-reviewed articles but with the potential for comment and community. As an information platform, it now has scope to grow and provide a range of services to different constituencies, disseminating information faster and further than has been possible before.

Scientific publishing in peer-reviewed journals is, in general (dependent on the field), still increasing in volume and frequency, continuing a trend of growth across the past 50 years. Alongside this publication, methodologies using new channels are also growing fast. Moreover, reporting of conference proceedings is especially important in scientific fields with high growth rates.

These developments have led TOPRA’s Board of Directors to affirm its six-year vision of adopting class-leading digital publishing and therefore bring to an end both Regulatory Rapporteur’s print and PDF versions. New issues are no longer available in a PDF format, while the hard copy will cease production from the end of 2023’s first quarter. From now on, our focus will be to signpost directly to the online platform, with more frequent, but reasonable and considerate levels of email and social media communication to alert members and the wider community to new articles and content.

While we appreciate that this might require a small change in your journal experience, we hope that you will enjoy the benefits of the online platform in its place.

Regulatory Rapporteur is a free-to-access member benefit and part of an exclusive package for TOPRA members aimed at supporting ongoing professional development, which includes professional registration, networking opportunities and discounts on training and courses.

This evolution is part of a history of change within the organisation and its publishing function. Regulatory Rapporteur has been published in its current form since 2004, following the merger of the British Institute for Regulatory Affairs (BIRA) and the European Society of Regulatory Affairs (ESRA) to form TOPRA, having emerged from the combination of BIRA’s Regulatory Review and the ESRA Rapporteur.

The platform will enable Regulatory Rapporteur to maintain its role as a leading source of knowledge and expertise for the global regulatory affairs community. It was selected for its wide range of functionality and ability to support the journal’s future growth, being an established platform used by a wide range of online publishers. With accessibility tools and responsiveness across devices, it will also make the journal more convenient to read and use.

Kevin Pay, TOPRA Chief Executive, said: “Taking Regulatory Rapporteur into a fully online format represents a very exciting moment for the organisation. Primarily, it ensures that our globally respected journal’s articles will be faster and easier to get, than ever before and ensure that the valuable insights within it will have a longer-lasting impact. It demonstrates that we at TOPRA are actively looking ahead for opportunities to support our members and the wider regulatory affairs profession in new and innovative ways.”

* ‘Science is more than a body of knowledge.It’s a way of thinking’ – Carl Sagan, Cosmologist, from his final interview given to Charlie Rose, of CBS Television, in May 1996.