Elsevier is the world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services. Each year, the Science & Technology arm of Elsevier publishes 240,000 new research articles through 1,250 journals. Elsevier’s Health & Science unit distributes over 700 journals and 1,500 new health science titles, in print and electronically. Reed Elsevier Group is a UK registered company and is equally owned by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV.

Change for 2012: A newly introduced division of LexisNexis, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, has NOT been included in this ranking, while the remaining part of LexisNexis has been included).

Key company developments in 2011 & 1st half year 2012


The revenue of Elsevier’s Health & Sciences sector was down 2% in constant currencies, from 1.01 billion GBP to 982 million GBP. Although sales of electronic tools grew steadily, with double-digit growth in the clinical decision support market, the unit faced a decreasing demand of print products and a continuing decline of pharmaceutical advertisement in Europe. The growth of Science & Technology, Elsevier’s second branch--up 4%, from 1,015 m pound to 1,076 m pound--was owed to strong sales of databases and analysis tools. In total, Elsevier’s revenue accounts for 2.06 billion GBP in 2011 against 2.03 billion GBP in 2010.

While Elsevier operates on a global scale, LexisNexis Risk Solution achieved its 908 m pound earnings solely in North America, half from insurance products. International legal markets are served by Legal & Professional. Both of these divisions, which had been combined untill 2011, record a decline in revenue. Revenue at Legal & Professional fell from 1.69 billion GBP to 1.63 billion GBP, due to subdued sales, corporate customers, and print declines. Loses were balanced to some extent by new products that performed well in a stabilized legal market, but were accompanied with costs.

Ownership, mergers & acquisition, internal organization:

In December 2011, Elsevier acquired Ariadne Genomis, an analysis tool expected to meet the demands of pharmaceutical biotechnology research. Following Elsevier’s core mission to provide an efficient approach to scientific literature, the company bought QUOSA, a content management and workflow productivity solution provider, in January 2012.

Since January 1, 2011, LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Legal and Professional, which previously were combined as one business, operate as two standalone divisions.


By acquiring Dataong, the online provider of drug information, Elsevier has gained a presence in the Chinese clinical decision support market.

With the launch of Lexis India, an online legal research platform, and the international role of LexisNexis Legal & Professional, Elsevier is targeting emerging markets for international expansion.


The share of Elsevier’s revenue generated by electronic content and services is up to 63%. Health & Science recorded a growth from 24% in 2007 to 40% in 2011 for electronic format, while 96% of the revenue for Lexis Nexis Risk Solution came from electronic services. Electronic sales for LexisNexis Legal & Professional were 75%.

Bestselling authors & titles:

The Science and Technology unit of Elsevier provides the world’s largest database of scientific and medical research. Seven million researches use “ScienceDirect” to get access to more than 10 million scientific and medical documents. Other major products include Scorpus, the abstract and citation database, and Reaxys, a tool for synthetic chemists. In 2011, Elsevier launched ScriVerse Hub, a platform that unites content from various Elsevier databases, and other applications that enhance the utility of underlying content.

The flagship titles of the Health & Science segment include the journal The Lancet and reference works such as Gray’s Anatomy and Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy.

Key points for analysis & conclusions:


Earlier developments:


Note: Figures are based on sales generated in calendar 2011 or—for corporations with a fiscal year—from fiscal 2011. Data are from publicly available sources and include sales of books, journals, and digital products. Because publishing data were unavailable, Pannini and Disney/Hyperion are excluded from the rankings. The listing and publisher profiles were compiled by international publishing consultant Rudiger Wischenbart under the aegis of Livres Hebdo.