In my own little field, for example, ACM and IEEE do their best to deny access to computer science research results to anyone who is not working at a university, a member of their orgs, or willing to pay $$$. I.e., if you're a kid in Africa wanting to learn something about computer science you're not going to do it by looking at these folks' journals on the Web.)
Economic growth comes from scientific and technical innovation. Scientific and technical innovation depends to a large extent on innovators having access to each others' published results. It is thus a shame that the only way that an author can get money or tenure is by turning over his or her work to an organization whose primary goal is artificially restricting access to that work.
Well said! And most of my academic friends are scared by exactly this. The only way to get ahead is to get published, and means putting your research into the black-hole of academic publishers. Today I'm particularly pissed off to find this interesting looking paper is locked away behind something called Ingenta Select.
Greenspun also links to the Public Library of Science. Something which needs our support.