Parent company Reed Elsevier
Founded 1880
Country of origin Netherlands
Headquarters location Amsterdam
Official website elsevier.com

Elsevier (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɛlzəvir]) is a publishing company which publishes medical and scientific literature. It is a part of the Reed Elsevier group. Based in Amsterdam, the company has operations in the United Kingdom, USA and elsewhere.

Elsevier took its name from the Dutch publishing house Elzevir, which, however, had no connection with the present company. The Elzevir family operated as booksellers and publishers in the Netherlands. Its founder, Lodewijk Elzevir (1542–1617), lived in Leiden and established the business in 1580.

Elsevier was founded in 1880. Leading products include journals such as The Lancet and Cell, books such as Gray's Anatomy, the SciVerse ScienceDirect collection of electronic journals, the Trends and Current Opinion series of journals, and the online citation database SciVerse Scopus. Its free researcher collaboration tool, 2collab, launched in 2007, was discontinued in 2011.

The company publishes 250,000 articles a year in 2,000 journals.[1] Its archives contain seven million publications. Total yearly downloads amount to 240 million.[2]

In revenue, Elsevier accounts for 28% of the Reed Elsevier group (₤1.5b of 5.4 billions in 2006). In operating profits, it represents a bigger fraction of 44% (₤395 of 880 millions).[3] Adjusted operating profits rose by 10% from 2005 to 2006.[4]

Reed Elsevier Annual Report 2006
Turnover € 7,935 million (+5% from '05)
Pre-tax profit € 1,060 million (+3% from '05)
Elsevier Annual Report 2006
Turnover € 2,236 million (+6.6% from '05)
Pre-tax profit € 581 million (+0.5% from '05)
see Elsevier reports;[3] turnover = revenue; profits not adjusted


Company figures

Elsevier employs more than 7,000 people in over 70 offices across 24 countries. In addition, there are 7,000 journal editors, 70,000 editorial board members, 300,000 reviewers and 600,000 authors for its publications. The company publishes 2,000 journals and 20,000 books.[1]

It is headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Erik Engstrom.

Elsevier's operating divisions

Elsevier has two distinct operating divisions: Science & Technology and Health Sciences. Products and services of both include electronic and print versions of journals, textbooks and reference works and cover the health, life, physical and social sciences.

Science & Technology

Ron Mobed is the CEO of Science & Technology.

The target markets are academic and government research institutions, corporate research labs, booksellers, librarians, scientific researchers, authors, and editors.

Flagship products and services include: VirtualE, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Scirus, EMBASE, Engineering Village, Compendex, Cell, SciVal Spotlight.

There are the following subsidiary imprints, many of them previously independent publishing companies: Academic Press, Architectural Press, Butterworth-Heinemann, CMP, Digital Press, Elsevier, Focal Press, Gulf Professional Publishing, Morgan Kaufmann, Newnes, Pergamon Press, Pergamon Flexible Learning, Syngress Publishing.

Health Sciences

Michael Hansen is the CEO of Health Sciences.

The target market is physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, medical and nursing students and schools, medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and research establishments. It publishes in 12 languages including English, German, French Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Japanese and Chinese.

Flagship publications include: The Consult series (FirstCONSULT, PathCONSULT, NursingCONSULT, MDConsult, StudentCONSULT), Virtual Clinical Excursions, and major reference works such as Gray's Anatomy, Nelson Pediatrics, Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Netter's Atlas of Human Anatomy, and online versions of many journals[5] including The Lancet.

There are the following subsidiary imprints, previously independent publishing companies: Saunders, Mosby, Churchill Livingstone, Butterworth-Heinemann, Hanley & Belfus, Bailliere-Tindall, Urban & Fischer, Masson.

Criticism and controversies

In recent years the subscription rates charged by the company for its journals have been criticised; some very large journals (those with more than 5000 articles) charge subscription prices as high as $14,000, far above average. The company has been criticised not just by advocates of a switch to the open-access publication model, but also by universities whose library budgets make it difficult for them to afford current journal prices. For example, a resolution by Stanford University's senate singled out Elsevier as an example of a publisher of journals which might be "disproportionately expensive compared to their educational and research value" and which librarians should consider dropping, and encouraged its faculty "not to contribute articles or editorial or review efforts to publishers and journals that engage in exploitive or exorbitant pricing".[6] Similar guidelines and criticism of Elsevier's pricing policies have been passed by the University of California, Harvard University and Duke University.[7] The elevated pricing of field journals in economics, most of which are published by Elsevier, was one of the motivations that moved the American Economic Association to launch the American Economic Journal in 2009.[8]

Resignation of editorial boards

In November 1999 the entire editorial board (50 persons) of the Journal of Logic Programming (founded in 1984 by Alan Robinson) collectively resigned after 16 months of unsuccessful negotiations with Elsevier Press about the price of library subscriptions.[9] The personnel created a new journal, Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, with Cambridge University Press at a much lower price,[9] while Elsevier continued publication with a new editorial board and a slightly different name (the Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming).

In 2002, dissatisfaction at Elsevier's pricing policies caused the European Economic Association to terminate an agreement with Elsevier, which designated Elsevier's European Economic Review as the official journal of the association. The EEA launched a new journal, the Journal of the European Economic Association.[10]

At the end of 2003, the entire editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms resigned to start ACM Transactions on Algorithms with a different, lower priced publisher,[11] at the suggestion of Journal of Algorithms founder Donald Knuth.[12]

The same happened in 2005 to the International Journal of Solids and Structures, whose editors resigned to start the Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Structures. However, a new editorial board was quickly established and the journal continues in apparently unaltered form with editors D.A. Hills (Oxford University) and Stelios Kyriakides (University of Texas at Austin).[citation needed]

On August 10, 2006, the entire editorial board of the distinguished mathematical journal Topology handed in their resignation, again because of stalled negotiations with Elsevier to lower the subscription price.[13] This board has now launched the new Journal of Topology at a far lower price, under the auspices of the London Mathematical Society.[14]

The French École Normale Supérieure has stopped having Elsevier publish the journal Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure[15] (as of 2008).[16]

Parent organisation links to weapons industry

An editorial in the medical journal The Lancet in September 2005 sharply criticized the journal's owner and publisher, Reed Elsevier, for its participation in the international arms trade.[17] Specifically, Reed Exhibitions organized the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition (DSEi), a large arms fair in the U.K. The authors, appealing to the Hippocratic oath, called for the publisher to "divest itself of all business interests that threaten human, and especially civilian, health and well-being."[18]

In the March 2007 issue of the The Lancet, leading medical centers including the UK Royal College of Physicians urged Reed Elsevier to sever weapons ties. Doctors spoke out against Reed's role in the involvement of the organizing of exhibitions for the arms trade.[19] Reed Elsevier’s chief executive responded in June 2007 with a written statement agreeing to do so,[20] welcomed by authors of the petition[clarification needed],[21] announcing that it would sell the part of the company which handled military trade shows. The sale was completed in May 2008.[22]

Chaos, Solitons & Fractals

There was speculation that the editor-in-chief of Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, M. El Naschie, misused his power to publish his work without appropriate peer review. The journal had published 322 papers with El Naschie as author since 1993. The last issue of December 2008 featured five of his papers.[23] The controversy was covered extensively in blogs.[24][25] The publisher announced in January 2009 that El Naschie had retired as editor-in-chief.[26] As of May 2010, the new co-Editors-in-Chief of the journal are Maurice Courbage and Paolo Grigolini.[27] In June 2011, El Naschie sued the journal Nature for libel, claiming that his reputation had been damaged by their November 2008 article about his retirement, which included statements that Nature had been unable to verify his claimed affiliations with certain international institutions.[28] The suit came to trial in November 2011.[28]

Fake journals

At a 2009 court case in Australia where Merck & Co. was being sued by a user of Vioxx, the plaintiff alleged that Merck had paid Elsevier to publish the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which had the appearance of being a peer-reviewed academic journal but in fact contained only articles favourable to Merck drugs.[29][30][31][32] Merck has described the journal as a "complimentary publication", denied claims that articles within it were ghost written by Merck, and stated that the articles were all reprinted from peer-reviewed medical journals.[33] In May 2009, Elsevier Health Sciences CEO Hansen released a statement regarding Australia-based sponsored journals, conceding that these were "sponsored article compilation publications, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients, that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures." The statement acknowledged that this "was an unacceptable practice."[34] The Scientist reported that, according to an Elsevier spokesperson, six sponsored publications "were put out by their Australia office and bore the Excerpta Medica imprint from 2000 to 2005", namely the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, the Australasian Journal of General Practice, the Australasian Journal of Neurology, the Australasian Journal of Cardiology, the Australasian Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, and the Australasian Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine.[35] Excerpta Medica was a "strategic medical communications agency" run by Elsevier, according to the imprint's web page.[36] On October 7, 2010, Excerpta Medica was acquired by Adelphi Worldwide.[37]

Shill reviews

Elsevier has been accused of offering Amazon gift certificates to academics who would write positive reviews at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble of their textbook Clinical Psychology. The company admitted that it had been a mistake and blamed a "rogue employee" for this practice.[38]


Imprints are brand names in publishing. Elsevier uses its imprints to market to different consumer segments. Many of them have previously been the company names of publishers that were purchased by Reed Elsevier.

See also

  • List of periodicals published by Elsevier


  1. ^ a b "Elsevier at a glance". Elsevier.
  2. ^ "Journal publishing at Elsevier". Elsevier. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b Reed Elsevier | Annual Report and Financial Statements 2006
  4. ^ Reed Elsevier | Annual Report and Financial Statements 2006
  5. ^ Health Advance. Elsevier.
  6. ^ Faculty Senate minutes February 19 meeting Stanford Report, Feb. 25, 2004
  7. ^ "Fac Sen addresses costly journals". The Stanford Daily. 2004-02-20. http://www.stanforddaily.com/2004/02/20/fac-sen-addresses-costly-journals. 
  8. ^ David Glenn. "American Economic Association Plans 4 New Journals". The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 25, 2008. Available online at Chronicle.com
  9. ^ a b Joan Birman. "Scientific publishing: a mathematician’s viewpoint". Notices of the AMS. Vol. 47, No. 7, August 2000
  10. ^ The EEA's journal: a brief history
  11. ^ Changes at the Journal of Algorithms
  12. ^ Donald Knuth (2003-10-25). "Letter to the editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms" (PDF). http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/joalet.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  13. ^ "Resignation letter from the editors of Topology" (PDF). 2006-08-10. http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/topology-letter.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  14. ^ Journal of Topology (pub. London Mathematical Society)
  15. ^ John Baez: What We Can Do About Science Journals August 13, 2007
  16. ^ "Publisher's description of Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure". Elsevier. http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/600714/description. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  17. ^ "Biting Its Owner's Hand". New York Times. 2005-09-05. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE0DC1331F93AA3575AC0A9639C8B63&scp=2&sq=elsevier+lancet&st=nyt. 
  18. ^ Feder, Gene et al. (2005). "Reed Elsevier and the international arms trade". The Lancet 366 (9489): 889; discussion 889–90. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67306-0. PMID 16154003. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/09/322871.html. 
  19. ^ Bob Grant. "Scientists step up Elsevier protest". The-Scientist.com. http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/53073/. 
  20. ^ "Reed Elsevier to exit the defence exhibitions sector". Reed Elsevier (press release). 2007-06-01. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20070927200238/http://www.reed-elsevier.com/index.cfm?articleid=2084. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  21. ^ "Journal-Publishing Giant Will Halt Lucrative Business in Weapons Bazaars". The Chronicle of Higher Education (News Blog). 2007-06-05. http://chronicle.com/news/article/2434/journal-publishing-giant-will-halt-lucrative-business-in-weapons-bazaars. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  22. ^ "Sale of defence exhibitions". Reed Elsevier (press release). 2008-05-29. http://www.reedelsevier.com/mediacentre/pressreleases/2008/Pages/Saleofdefenceexhibitions.aspx. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  23. ^ Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 38(5), pp. 1229–1534 (December 2008)
  24. ^ "The Scholarly Kitchen". http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/?s=el+naschie. 
  25. ^ "El Naschie Watch Blog". http://elnaschiewatch.blogspot.com/. 
  26. ^ "Publisher’s note". Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 39: v–. 2009. Bibcode 2009CSF....39D...5.. doi:10.1016/S0960-0779(09)00060-5.  edit
  27. ^ "Chaos, Solitons and Fractals". May 2010. http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/967/description. 
  28. ^ a b Ghosh, Pallab. "Nature journal libel case begins". BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15697636. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  29. ^ Rout, Milanda (9 April 2009). "Doctors signed Merck's Vioxx studies". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25311725-5013871,00.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  30. ^ Grant, Bob (30 April 2009). "Merck published fake journal". The Scientist. http://www.the-scientist.com/templates/trackable/display/blog.jsp?type=blog&o_url=blog/display/55671&id=55671. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  31. ^ Hagan, Kate (23 April 2009). "Merck accused of 'ghost writing' medical article". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/national/merck-accused-of-ghost-writing-medical-article-20090422-afdk.html?page=-1. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  32. ^ Ben Goldacre, "The danger of drugs … and data", The Guardian, 9 May 2009
  33. ^ "Merck Responds to Questions about the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine Journal" (PDF) (Press release). Merck & Co.. 30 April 2009. http://www.merck.com/newsroom/vioxx/pdf/statement_20090430.pdf. 
  34. ^ "Statement from Michael Hansen, CEO Of Elsevier's Health Sciences Division, regarding Australia based sponsored journal practices between 2000 and 2005" (Press release). Elsevier. http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/authored_newsitem.cws_home/companynews05_01203. 
  35. ^ Grant, Bob (7 May 2009). "Elsevier published 6 fake journals". The Scientist. http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55679/. 
  36. ^ ""Excerpta Medica", official webpage". Elsevier. http://www.excerptamedica.com/. 
  37. ^ ""Excerpta Medica Joins Adelphi Worldwide", press release". Elsevier. http://www.excerptamedica.com/?page=newsroom&item=301. 
  38. ^ Finlo Rohrer, "The perils of five-star reviews", BBC News Magazine, June 25, 2009. Available online at News.bbc.co.uk

External links

Official links

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  • Elsevier —    In 1580, Lodewijk Elsevier (c. 1540–1617) from Louvain established himself in Leiden as a printer and bookseller. The house of Elsevier became one of the most important publishingfirms in the 17th century (along with Plantin Moretus in Antwerp …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

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  • Elsevier B.V. — n. world leading publisher of scientific and technical information that publishes thousands of new research articles and new book titles every year for the scientific research community; world leading publisher of medical and health information… …   English contemporary dictionary

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