The Population Health Blog contacted a colleague in the medical-scientific publishing industry and asked her for her reaction. Here's her reply:
Interesting, but frustratingly one-sided. It leaves out the critical point that someone has to pay for a CRUCIAL service that the publisher is providing - peer-review, editorial expertise, and career-making reputations for authors after the published results appear in a trustworthy, sound, and respected journal.
This is also fueled by complaints from researchers who have benefited for decades from federal subsidies (most notably student loans) who have suddenly found their inner-Reagan and cry foul when the system doesn't suit their needs.
Without the publishing industry to ensure that the science those taxpayers paid for is sound, we'd probably all be drinking Gatorade to cure Alzheimer's, because the incentives would ultimately award sponsorship to the highest bidder. Research misconduct would likely be rampant.
Lots of medical journals are Open Access and the publishing industry supports it. But we're also not just slapping it on the internet. Researchers are welcome to do that with their own work, free of charge. And I wish them luck with that. I'm sure they'll need it.