Below is a link and abstract for an article in First Monday that explores the potential paths for scholarly publishing vis-a-vis the Web and copyright.
Coming from the publishing side, it is hard to imagine not extracting subscription income for access to archives of journal content. However, I can definitely see the value of free access for both the authors and the overall research community. When you throw in tenure calculations it becomes a very complex situation.
Whatever your point of view, the article is definitely worth a read if you are involved in academic publishing.
This paper examines contradictions in how copyright works with the publishing of scholarly journals. These contradictions have to do with the protection of the authors’ interest and have become apparent with the rise of open access publishing as an alternative to the traditional commercial model of selling journal subscriptions. Authors may well be better served, as may the public which supports research, by open access journals because of its wider readership and early indications of greater scholarly impact. This paper reviews the specifics of publishers’ contracts with editors and authors, as well as the larger spirit of copyright law in seeking to help scholars to better understand the consequences the choices they make between commercial and open access publishing models for the future of academic knowledge.