RELX Group, until February 2015 known as Reed Elsevier, is a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across different industries and for academic, medical, and scientific research institutes. The company is headquartered in London and has offices in 40 countries around the world, serving customers in 180 countries. The company employs 30,000 people of whom almost half are in North America.
RELX operates in four market segments: Scientific, Technical & Medical, Risk and Business Analytics, Legal, and Exhibitions.
RELX delivers positive impact with its distribution of vital research and information. The company manages the largest database in the world for academic research. It collects research, organises the peer review process, and edits and disseminates the research through its electronic database and printed formats of academic journals. Through these services the company contributes to society by advancing science and health, protecting people, improving the rule of law and providing access to justice. Through its Risk & Business Analytics division, for example, RELX is collecting data that is used by banks, insurance companies and government agencies to better assess risks and to detect and prevent fraud and crime.
The positive impact of the business model is questionable, however. RELX doesn't pay the scientists for this work and peer reviewers often also work on a voluntary basis. As a result, the company is subject to a boycott by a large group of scientists and scholars, who refuse to publish their work through RELX. Another criticism is that the publishing industry has too much influence on what scientists choose to study, with scientists aligning their submissions to the kind of work that gets published, and that the system holds back scientific progress, as for example half of all clinical trials in the US are not reported). We agree with this criticism and engage with RELX on these topics.