Everyone’s favorite knowledge-hoarder, Reed Elsevier, has apparently had a very good 2015, based on its latest financial results. Trading since February 2015 under the new monicker REXL Group, Reed Elsevier reported 3 percent revenue growth and 5 percent underlying adjusted operating profit growth, spread “across all four business areas,” and “strong financial position & cash flow.” Revenue for the year totaled £5.97 billion ($8.28 billion).
“We achieved good underlying revenue growth in 2015, and continued to generate underlying operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth through continuous process innovation.,” Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, commented. “Trends in the early part of 2016 are consistent with 2015 across our business.”
In its investor presentation, Reed Elsevier declared that for its Scientific, Technical & Medical division – the area that’s seen the most conflict and controversy over scholarly open access – “strong growth in usage and article submissions to primary research subscription journals continued,” although “print book declines continued.” That’s perhaps a little regrettable, considering that those journals’ subscription fees are widely criticized as unduly high, and their sales depend on the often publicly-funded research that academics continue to push into their pages. But clearly it”s still a lucrative business for Reed Elsevier.
Incidentally, Reed Elsevier’s 2015 name change stemmed, according to reports in CFO Magazine and elsewhere, from a desire to modernize the company’s image for investors while streamlining its holding structure. Customers and scientific authors, meanwhile, would continue to deal with the old brand names. And of course, any speculation that the name change was done partly in order to distance REXL from all those awkward scandals and controversies in the scientific publishing community is just … well, speculation …
As long as higher education institutions continue to evaluate scholarly work as they always have (outsource the work to scholarly publishers), organizations such as Reed Elsevier will have the upper hand and will remain highly profitable.
Clueless as they are, HEA admins are probably largely unaware of what they have allowed to go forth.