Happily for RELX the academic publishing part of their business, Elsevier, continues to grow (by 2%) and profits continue to rise (by 3%) - to well over 30% adjusted operating profit (see page 17 of the report). £760 million profit on a turnover of £2070 million is pretty good by the standards of any industry.
Of course this level of revenue is small beer compared to some of the other players in the academic publishing market such as Wiley (see my earlier blog). The 2015 results of Informa plc show a similar pattern to Elsevier's, with an adjusted operating profit margin at over 36% for its academic publishing business (which includes many familiar names). Even these high levels of profit mask the immense profitability of the journal segment of academic publishing, which does much better than academic book publishing.
Sadly for academic libraries, universities, academics and taxpayers the exploitation of academic labour continues. Neither academics nor their departments are compensated for the labour devoted to journal peer reviewing for free. Journal publishers continue to receive copyright on research work outputs for free. They continue to demolish university library budgets with journal subscription fees. Meanwhile the content of those journals continues to be provided free by academics whose work is funded by others, including taxpayers.
12 years on from the highly critical House of Commons report into academic publishing, nothing of significance has changed except the rise and rise of the global academic publishing corporations.