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RELX, a data and analytics company that includes Elsevier’s scientific journals and LexisNexis’ legal news and databases, has been helping scientists and doctors make new discoveries for decades. When COVID-19 hit, RELX worked quickly to ensure all their key stakeholders stayed connected and well-informed on the latest COVID-19 research and data.
Read on to hear from Danny Marti, Head of Global Government Affairs, RELX and Vice Chair of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center, on how RELX is using its analytics and information to share news on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. What follows has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Q. How has RELX, and Elsevier in particular, stepped up to meet the ongoing challenges of this pandemic?
At challenging times like these, the need for effective public-private collaboration has never been more important. One of our businesses, Elsevier, is a leading scientific and medical journal publisher and information analytics provider. We publish The Lancet, Cell and over 2,000 other journals and support Science Direct and other platforms for researchers and scientists. In January, Elsevier immediately launched our Novel Coronavirus Information Center to ensure that all our journal articles, clinical insights and data analytics were freely available for doctors, scientists, nurses and others facing this challenging virus. We have also partnered with NIH and the WHO to support COVID research solutions, and to provide free access to our content and data worldwide. This content has already been downloaded over 130 million times. We want to ensure that any researcher on our platforms, and who may be key to unlocking the solutions we need in this crisis, has broad access to our information and analytics.
Q. During this time of uncertainty, what are the most pressing policy issues for RELX?
Our priority at this time remains the shared global priority: to help the collective search for therapeutics and vaccines to treat and protect against COVID-19. We are engaged on many fronts – both at Elsevier and in our data analytics and risk analysis work at LexisNexis. We are also working with governments to emphasize the need for substantial, ongoing government investments in education, training, and scientific research. And we remain focused on the need for federal privacy legislation to empower and protect consumers, as well as reinforce responsible data practices, including around the prevention of waste, fraud, and abuse.
COVID-19 is also a major stress test for globalization. This crisis is a call to action for businesses, and governments, to recognize the enormous benefits of interconnectedness. By keeping our borders open for trade and the free flow of services, data and information, we are collectively working faster, and smarter, to address this global challenge.
Q. As the country begins to re-open, how is your company supporting its employees as they return to work?
RELX employs about 15,000 people in the U.S., and another 15,000 around the globe, so this is an important question. RELX has adopted a thoughtful approach that prioritizes our employees’ safety and well-being. First, we are implementing protocols to ensure proper physical distancing between colleagues and the safe use of facilities, where our offices have begun to re-open. Second, we have empowered our employees, without pressure, to make the decision whether to work from home or come into the office, where possible. We recognize that each employee, each employee’s family situation, and each office setting is different. We will continue to support this flexibility during these unprecedented times.
Q. Are there any changes made in response to the pandemic that you plan to keep in place permanently?
The global business environment continues to evolve, and it’s clear that the post-pandemic world will look different. We will undoubtedly continue to support greater flexibility in where and how we work, and a broader embrace of digital engagements and solutions. For example, flying around the world to give a 30-minute speech is likely a thing of the past, especially when we are now more accustomed to virtual events. While personal connections will always matter, I expect that a lot of our continuing education and project coordination, across time zones, will take place in increasingly interactive ways online.
Read more on RELX’s COVID-19 response efforts at relx.com.