good examples as to why we continue to submit papers to non-open access journals. Sure open-access publication costs are high, but many researchers, even the under-funded hospital epidemiologist, should be able to gather up Departmental, Divisional or other resources to pay the publication costs. I think it's a matter of choice. Importantly, even if the research is called "unfunded", it is likely receiving hidden funding through paying of fellows' salaries or the opportunity-costs of less time spent actually doing "infection control." That is to say, someone is paying for the research.
"An implicit although obvious subtheme of Moneyball is that resistance to innovation is driven by job insecurity" - Nate Silver
There is a new article in the Atlantic by Laura McKenna that further describes the situation, and I think it's worth a close read. She describes the status quo very accurately:
1) Academic research is funded by national grants and/or subsidized through the university or hospital and the scientist is given "release time" to conduct the research.
2) The paper is then submitted to an academic (non-open access) journal.
3) These journals are housed and subsidized by universities (think ICHE and University of Michigan or AJIC and Columbia).
4) Journals are then edited by faculty members, who spend subsidized time editing the journal for not enough $$ to cover their time.
5) The "home" university provides offices for the editorial faculty and staff.
6) Papers selected for review are sent to faculty at other universities and are thus subsidized by these other universities, who support their peer-review activities.
7) If accepted, the manuscript is further reviewed by the editor and sent to the journal for publication
8) The publisher, to cover printing costs, sells the rights to JSTOR or other services and makes a tidy profit.
9) JSTOR then sells the papers back to university libraries for huge fees; said to be $45,000 initially and $8500/year just for the arts and sciences collection at JSTOR. If the general public (or non-university affiliated ICP) wants to read the article, they have to pay perhaps $38 to read it.
I will directly quote from her conclusion: "Step back and think about this picture. Universities that created this academic content for free must pay to read it. Step back even further. The public -- which has indirectly funded this research with federal and state taxes that support our higher education system -- has virtually no access to this material, since neighborhood libraries cannot afford to pay those subscription costs."
I would say that ALL of these costs, both visible and hidden, dwarf the one-time publication fee and would suggest that the reason we publish is to communicate our important findings with a wide audience. If universities can't support open-access publication fees to the extent that they already silently fund closed journals, and I would suggest if they did, the pub costs would drastically decline, then I wonder if the research is even worth doing. We easily spend 10 times more time (and money) collecting and analyzing the data, but can't cover the publication fee? Hogwash.