We Can Do Better Than FRPAA

SPARC's greatest rhetorical achievement has been to establish the equivalence of support for FRPAA with support for Open Access.  If you're on the right side of the issue and believe that the public must have free access to at least the author's final version of peer reviewed published papers, then you must be in support of FRPAA.  If you question FRPAA then you must be in the pocket of the evil publishers, deviously trying to lock away the results of federally funded research from the deserving public.

But I'm troubled by FRPAA's willingness to make do with the author's final manuscript and with the scant lip service that it pays to interoperability, data-mining, and preservation.  I think its one size fits all approach doesn't reflect the actual diversity of approaches to the literature among disciplines, and that its unwillingness to engage in some level of compromise with the publishing community sets up an us/them framework that has already done considerable damage to the scholarly community and that makes enemies of people who, in fact, have much more aligned interests than is generally recognized.   Most worrisome of all, perhaps, the fact that FRPAA is presented as THE solution to public access gets in the way of productive discussion about how we might achieve a better path to open access.

The report from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable, now two years old, still reflects the complexity of issues pretty well, and I'm encouraged by the fact that OSTP's RFI process clearly reflects those concerns.   Although the report doesn't specify a particular policy approach it does outline pretty well the issues that ought to be balanced in the development of such policies.

There have been a variety of ideas floated over the years that are worth looking at in developing a policy approach that improves on FRPAA's flaws, in particular the linking proposal that was made by a coalition of 57 not-for-profit publishers to NIH back in 2005/6, as well as Stuart Shieber's 2009 paper "Equity for Open-Access Publishing".

Elements that might be incorporated into such policies would include requiring that grantees publish in OA journals (whether fully OA or hybrid), that metadata be submitted to granting agencies to link back to the Version of Record, that standards for data-mining and interoperability be developed across all of the federal granting agencies, and that publishers either adopt robust preservation/archiving strategies on their own, or participate in "trusted" endeavors (however those turn out to be defined).

Policies along these lines would privilege the Version of Record, eliminate the embargo period, and emphasize the development of standards for interoperability.  They would provide a mechanism to encourage subscription publishers to develop fully OA business models, while injecting a level of market competition that could help to hold publication fees down.

They would also bump up against some issues of academic freedom by limiting where scientists could choose to publish, they would result in providing subsidies to commercial publishers for moving to OA, and they would not necessarily result in government controlled repositories like PubMed Central. 

So there's still plenty to argue about in the details.    But now is the time to have those arguments.  With the publishing industry already experimenting in numerous ways with OA business models, with many publishers on record opposing RWA, while stopping short of endorsing FRPAA, and with the OSTP folks sifting through all of the comments in response to the RFI, now is the time to move past the limitations of FRPAA and try to engage fully with all of the stakeholders to achieve immediate open access to the Version of Record.  Why in the world would we want to spend the next year engaging in a legislative fight that, even if it was won, wouldn't get us close to that?


University Library 2031

Please share your ideas about what university libraries might look like in 20 years and how we are planning and adapting to keep pace.  This information should be limited to one page...

Every summer I have a 90 minute planning meeting with the President & Provost.  It's an opportunity to talk about how the year has gone, but more importantly, to discuss the major priorities for the year to come.  I get a memo every year listing the items I'm supposed to write up (generally in no more than half a page each) to lay the ground for discussion.  Typically they include things like the university scorecards, significant achievements, top priorities, faculty & staff development and the like.  This year, there were a couple of new questions, including the one above.

I had to smile.  Five years is a long time to be planning these days in libraryland -- to predict two decades isn't science fiction, it's fantasy.  But I always enjoy these meetings and this year I've got a new boss who is really putting a lot of good thought into imagining how the libraries ought to be developing.  So I'm looking forward to the meeting, and I like the challenge of trying to distill my fantasizing into one page.

Here's what I wrote:


Twenty years is a long time.  In 1991, when I would try to explain the Internet to people, I would have to show them.  If you hadn’t used a browser, you didn’t have a mental map for what pointing and clicking to move from site to site was like.  The Netscape browser, which made the Internet accessible to anyone with a computer and a dial-up connection, wouldn’t be released until December, 1994.

The consequences of those developments have been huge for academic libraries, and we can expect even more of that over the next two decades.  No doubt, some of what will be the most crucial developments are literally unimaginable from this vantage point.  Nonetheless, one can make some assumptions and speculate about the nature of the academic library based on those assumptions.

  • Most scholarly/educational information will be distributed electronically, although print will continue to be an important niche technology in certain disciplines
  • The form and format of information containers will be radically different, incorporating multi-media and social devices.  The distinction between “e-journals” and “e-books” will have disappeared
  • Much of the required content will be distributed via national or global projects similar to the Google Books project and the Digital Public Library of America
  • Management of locally produced data (“data curation”) will emerge as one of the critical tasks for research universities
  • The “information space” will continue to be very complex and rich, and students and faculty will require training and support in making efficient and effective use of the resources available.


  • “Collection development” as it has been practiced in the past will disappear.  Librarians will focus on managing access to widely distributed information resources, on data curation of locally produced research information, and on organizing and making available locally produced special collections
  • The library building will be student focused as an alternative site for solitary and group study, social interaction, and access to specialized tools and resources.
  • Faculty librarians will spend the majority of their time outside of the library building, participating in curriculum development and teaching, and as members of research teams.

Our space planning focus continues to be making the building a hospitable environment for students.  Our focus on licensing resources is very much usage & request based, so that we can be sure that everything we pay for is being well used.  Our liaison program encourages faculty librarians to spend time interacting directly with faculty and students in the schools that they support.  We will continue to focus our future planning on these areas.


How much of that will actually ring true in 20 years I have no idea.  But in the summer of 2011 it's my one page best guess.


Me, Twitter?

Bart & Gabe are determined to see how far they can push the use of twitter at this year's MLA conference.  They want to use my Doe Lecture to seed some of the discussion before and during the meeting, so I just sent Bart some questions that he can use for the "Twitter Tutorial" that they're cooking up later this month.

As I understand it, they'll use the questions as the basis for generating some twitter discussion so that people can get used to re-tweeting and using hashtags and embedding stuff and whatever else it is that people do with twitter.  As someone who is pretty twitter-averse I find my participation in this to be tremendously amusing.

I have an account.  I'm following 65 people and am followed by 61.  But I almost never put anything up, other than a note when I've put up a new blog post (not that there's been much of that lately).   Since June 2008, when I signed up, I have precisely 130 tweets.

I keep an eye on it, but mostly because I find Rosanne Cash to be wonderfully hilarious.   But now, even the president of my university is trying to tweet something every day or so.

Gabe, who I actually don't follow (I probably should) and I have had a number of long talks, particularly as he's been planning for the conference, on how twitter can be used productively.  I remain agnostic about it's potential value to me, but interested.

Last year, I followed the twitter feed for the Doe Lecture from my hotel room. It didn't give me much of a sense of what Ana was actually saying, but it did give me a good feel for the emotional temperature of the room and how well-received the talk was.  (I did watch the video of it later on, which then helped to make sense of some of the tweets).

I know that what Bart & Gabe are after is real conversation -- the feel of taking half a dozen people and putting them in a bar after a good lecture and listening to them talking animatedly about it.  Can you create something like that among a much larger group of people who aren't all in the same place?

I don't know. I don't track twitter discussions enough to have examples of where I think it has really worked well.  But it's worth the experiment.  I might even pitch in.

Hang Out With People in Publishing

A few days ago, I was harping on the need for librarians to spend more time hanging out with people in publishing, so it seems appropriate for me to point to the programme for the 2011 meeting of the Association of Subscription Agents, which will be held in London next February.  I've attended the meeting a couple of times as a speaker and have found it extremely worthwhile.   It's a small, relaxed meeting and as you can see from the list, they cover a broad range of topics.  These are people who are very concerned with figuring out where scholarly publishing is going, and what their various roles in it are, so the discussions can be very illuminating.  You get to engage in real conversation with people who have widely differing opinions about what needs to be done, but who all care passionately about getting it done right.   They even have a special rate for librarians!



Maximum Ingenuity at MCMLA

I imagine that I do a pretty good job with presentations, so whenever I see somebody who I think is much better than me, I'm trying to figure out what of their style I can steal.  It could be tough with Rothman, because his presentation style seems to come so naturally from who he is.

He was the lunch speaker for the final day of the MCMLA conference, talking about inexpensive technologies ("Cheap and Easy: Bang for Your Buck").  His slides are here.  (And I feel compelled to point out that I intended to put up a post about his talk before I found out that he'd have links back to me all over it.  As if anybody cares.)  Be sure to watch the video of his boy Simon, with his new laptop.  The last question during the Q&A was, "Sorry, but could we just see the video of Simon one more time?"

The slides are worth going through for the links to some very cool tools, some of which I was not aware of, that will solve some small problems I've been having, but what's more important about the presentation is the overall tone and approach.  Rothman's a one person librarian in a challenging situation -- small hospital, few resources, IT department that is very focused on security, and an administration that does not have library services very high on the priority list.  He's far from unique in being in that kind of setting, but all too often it results in the librarian whining about what they can't do.  The line from his presentation that has stuck with me the most is, "Not all the time, and not every day, but I love my job."  And clearly he does.

When I was teenager, falling in love with words, it took me a long time to understand poetic form.  What was the point of trying to put your thoughts into fourteen lines with a complicated rhyme structure & meter?  I came to understand that it is by banging against the restrictions of form that we release the best of our creativity.

Rothman showed a slide that listed his hospital's priorities for his job, and then his own priorities.  They're not exactly the same list.  What he understands is that he's got to make sure that he handles the hospital's list exquisitely well -- and once he's done that, he can unleash his creativity on dealing with his own list.  He doesn't waste time trying to persuade his bosses that his list is better than theirs.  He just gets the job done.

During the Q&A to an earlier session, someone was trying to explain to the speaker that they really couldn't do what the speaker was suggesting because they just didn't have enough time and people.  The standard excuses.  I was in the back of the room and wanted to scream, "You don't have to solve the whole damn thing -- any progress is still progress!  Make something happen."

I was talking with some of my crew awhile back about our liaison program.  We will never have the resources that it would take to do everything that we think ought to be done.  That doesn't stop the people I get to work with from doing amazing things every day.  It doesn't seem to stop Rothman, either.


Searching for common ground: public access and the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable

 As soon as I sent the draft of my editorial about the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable around to the other roundtable members for review, Fred began referring to it as my "how I spent my summer vacation" essay.  That's pretty accurate.  When Susan Starr, the editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association, asked me last March if I'd be interested in writing an editorial for the October issue, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about.  The report itself is the important thing, and I didn't see any need to repeat the substance of it, but I thought it might be useful to describe my perceptions of how the Roundtable came about, and what I think it achieved.  I'm grateful to Susan for giving me the chance to do that.

At the most basic level, the goal of open access is to eliminate subscription barriers (there's much more to the various "flavors" of open access, of course, but that's the fundamental thing).  What I try to emphasize in the editorial is that across the broad spectrum of the scholarly communication community, there isn't any significant opposition to that goal.  But how we get there, and how we craft policy in such a way as to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative unintended consequences is very complex and requires carefully balancing among a number of competing priorities.  The Roundtable report attempts to describe that complexity and that balancing act in ways that we hope will be useful to policy makers.

Jim O'Donnell (another roundtable member) and I will be hosting a session on the report and its relationship to FRPAA at the Charleston Conference in a few weeks.   I'm hoping for a lively discussion.


Breaking Down the Mental Models

It hasn't been my geographic region for fifteen years, but every year I pay my own way to the MCMLA conference.  My history with the chapter is deep.  I go principally for the people, but every year I'm reminded what a great job they do with content.  Last year, the keynote was the amazing T.R. ReidThis year it kicked off with the tag team of Lorri Zipperer and Paul Uhlig.

 Lorri is well known for her work on patient safety, and this was the point of the presentation, as reflected in the title,  New Possibilities: The Catalytic Role of Librarians as Front Line Partners for Transforming Clinical Care.  But unlike other work I've come across over the years that discusses a more active clinical role for librarians, Lorri and Paul focused on the cultural barriers to this kind of collaboration, and emphasized the kinds of interactions that need to happen if it is to be successful.  I'd woken up that morning thinking about how I might respond to Marcus's comments to my previous post and it seemed to me that the challenges to effective librarian/physician interactions paralleled quite clearly those affecting librarians and publishers.

 They emphasized the ways in which we get trapped by our mental models.   This is not just librarians, of course; it affects all professions.  So we end up having warped views of those we interact with who are not part of our own tribe.  Lorri told the story of talking to someone not long out of library school and recommending that she read some of Atul Gawande's books.  The librarian responded, "I'd never read anything by a surgeon!"  Lorri told her she was in the wrong business.  An extreme example, perhaps, but reflective of how too many librarians think of physicians.

Paul put it succinctly:  "We are who we are because of the way we interact, who we talk with...  We create our realities in our mutual interactions."

So it is with librarians and publishers.  As librarians we create mental models of publishers that puts us in opposition to them.  Marcus says, "The traditional publishing model ... really should be at risk."  I scarcely know a person in publishing who doesn't agree with that -- but the tone of Marcus's comment reflects the notion, prevalent among librarians, that publishers are trying to defend and protect a traditional publishing model.  Surely it's the case that there are some who are trying to hang in there, hoping for retirement before it all collapses around them -- just as there are librarians who still think their job is to build & manage collections and worry about how to get people into the library.  But most of the people I talk with in publishing are trying just as vigorously as smart librarians to figure out how to transform their organizations so that they remain vibrant and fruitful in the digital age.

Marcus asks, "How can we credibly align the interests of publishers and librarians?" and in an email message to me he suggests that "the interests of the two groups are on a collision course..."  I think many librarians feel that way, but it has become very clear to me, through my work with the Chicago Collaborative and the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable, as well as so many of the numerous other conversations and interactions that I've had with publishers over the past decade that our interests are aligned in many more ways than they are in opposition.  But you'd never know that if the only conversations that you ever have are with somebody who is trying to get you to pay a price that's higher than what you want to pay. 

I'm a library director, so it's my job to worry about money and the health of my organization -- but of course, that's not ALL I worry about.  Publishers worry about research fraud, professional ethics, the development of young scholars, preservation and archiving, using new technologies to enhance communication, and developing better discovery and analysis tools to further the impact of research.  And, yes, they worry about how to get the scholarly literature into the hands of those who can benefit from it the most, which is why all of the major commerical STM publishers are experimenting with at least some kind of an open access or public access option.   The Roundtable's core recommendation is:  "Each federal research funding agency should expeditiously but carefully develop and implement an explicit public access policy that brings about free public access to the results of the research that it funds as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer‐reviewed journal."  Every publisher in the room agreed with that -- the core disagreements had to do with how much government intervention is advisable and necessary.

I don't expect to agree on all issues with my colleagues in publishing.  For heaven's sake, Lynn and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary -- I know about having disagreements with people that you care about.  

Lorri and Paul made a very compelling case for how much can be improved for patients when the people involved in patient care -- including the patients themselves -- are part of a broad conversation that exists in an atmosphere of trust.  They also pointed out that creating that atmosphere is something that takes time, patience, hard work and a willingness to listen and to challenge one's own mental models.  Those of us who care about the future of scholarly communication can achieve a great deal as well, but we have to have that same willingness.



Chicago Collaborative Rules of Engagement

It occurred to me while Liz and I were meeting with our Elsevier reps the other day that part of the reason that my perspective on publishers and publishing is so different from so many of my colleagues is that while I spend far more time with publishers than most librarians, almost none of that time is spent with sales & marketing people.   When Steven Bell, who writes prolifically about library matters had the opportunity to spend some extended time with publisher representatives, the encounter surprised him.  But, as he says, "My interaction with scholarly publishers has consisted primarily of short conversations at library conference booths."  This really has to change.

The Chicago Collaborative (CC) was designed to foster the kinds of conversations that can surprise both librarians and publishers when we sit down to talk about the issues that we have in common and quit thinking of each other primarily as buyers and sellers.  And in the five meetings that we've had so far, it's been extremely successful at that.  At the end of each day there's been a palpably giddy sense in the room.  We're all learning so much and there is a growing sense of how much we can accomplish when we work together, rather than being at odds.

But up to now, the library community has been represented exclusively by members of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL).  (All of us are members of MLA and some of us are members of ALA or come from ARL institutions, but with the CC we're there as AAHSL reps.)  I've been pretty insistent all along that eventually this needs to expand.  The issues that we're trying to address are of concern to all librarians, not just those with a biomedical focus.

All the same, we all feel protective of our fledgling unorganization.  The adversarial approach that has been adopted by the OA advocacy groups has generated a great deal of mistrust in the community.  Too many librarians have an image of publishers as mercenary fat cats determined to "lock-up" scholarship, and too many publishers have come to believe that librarians would just as soon put them all out of business.  But when the CC meets, we have to put those notions aside, and work with each other in good faith, as people who are fundamentally dedicated to improving scholarly communication for everyone.

So we've drafted what we're calling the Rules of Engagement -- a set of principles that govern how we approach our discussions.  The rules refer to the Chatham House Rule (which I learned about when I joined the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable) and are designed to establish a baseline for candid conversations based on the idea that we are not there to push specific agendas, but to learn from each other and to work with each other.

It's a tall order -- we're trying to change the nature of the conversation that librarians and publishers and editors and scholars have.  But I remind myself that the CC is only a little over two years old and I think we're making progress.  I'm impatient because I feel that we (and by "we" I mean all of those in the scholarly communication community who care about making the most of the opportunities the digital age presents us) have wasted far too much time. 

Open access week is coming up.  Here's what I wish librarians would do -- if you really care about advancing the openness of scholarship, make a commitment to go to at least one publishers conference or meeting in the next year.  Introduce yourself to somebody other than your sales rep.  Go have a cup of coffee or a drink.  Ask them about what they see as the future of scholarly publishing.  And then listen.

Librarian radicals of the sixties

I don't think there's actually a written rule on this anywhere, but there seems to be an accepted tradition that each Doe Lecturer reads through all of the previous Doe lectures as they prepare their own.  Some months ago, I received from Ana Cleveland, last year's lecturer, a large blue binder containing copies of all of the previous lectures.  Apparently each lecturer sends the growing collection on to the next one.  Kind of a quaint tradition, given that all the lectures are now available online, and have been for years.

Since the lectures have been given every year but one since 1967, they may have to start naming the lecturer two years ahead instead of one, just so that there's time to get through them all.

I'm enjoying the reading.  I find that it illuminates much of my frustration with the Library 2.0 crowd and their apparent belief that their view of a new technological, patron-centered librarianship represented some kind of radical break with the past.  To wit:

The medical librarian of 1967 lives in a period of changing concepts, dramatic new methods, everwidening scientific horizons.  To meet these challenges he must welcome the future with patient flexibility and ready enthusiasm.  He is aware that no generation of librarians has seen such a swift transformation of techniques and that no generation has seen such a rapid expansion of scientific knowledge.  In looking toward the immediate past he may think of the medical librarian of thirty years ago as a complacent follower of accepted procedures, not as a pioneer in a brave new world.  (Gertrude Annan, 1967)

Recent emphasis [in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association] is on the demands of medical research and education and on the techniques of an electronic world.  (Gertrude Annan, 1967)

Today the typical medical librarian must be an administrator, educator, researcher, collector, public servant, fund raiser, accountant, architect, psychologist and public relations expert.  With this enlightened viewpoint in mind, I object to being classified as the stereotyped librarian of twenty-five years ago.  I object to following outmoded policies and procedures.  I object to the status quo attitude and lack of experimentation and desire on the part of some for improved methodology for librarianship.  (Alfred Brandon, 1969)

Medical libraries are the recorded experiences of mankind in its attempt to study and take action on the problems of health and disease.  Their purpose is to bring the information gathered in the past to bear on the questions of the present and the future, and thus to break down the barriers of time and space.  (Estelle Brodman, 1971)

You can find similar statements in just about every one of the lectures.   That's why I never could figure out what was "new" about what the Library 2.0 folks were saying, other than that they were enchanted with the latest shiny thing.

The immediate challenges we face always seem new, of course.  There's always a new technology that presents great opportunities if we can figure out how to use it wisely and well.  But the philosophy, the approach, the ethic of librarianship that supports us in making our decisions was well-articulated over forty years ago.

Taxpayers and Peer Review

One of the most effective soundbites in the public access debates around FRPAA is that taxpayers ought to have ready, easy and immediate access to the results of the research that they’ve paid for.   Seems to be obviously true.

It quickly gets muddy, however, because most people who follow the OA orthodoxy intend it to mean that taxpayers ought to have ready, easy and immediate access to the peer-reviewed articles reporting the results of that research.  After all, the argument goes, they’ve already paid for it, and the subscription system forces them to pay twice! When publishers object that what’s been paid for is the doing of the research, but that taxpayers have not actually paid for the peer review and publication of those articles, they are typically shouted down with the claim that since all of the key elements of peer review and publication are either done for free or are simple anyway, the publishers really don’t add any value and so have no claim to compensation.

And yet, there doesn’t seem to be any outcry at the notion of paying PLoS (or any other publication-fee based OA publisher) a considerable sum of (usually) taxpayer money to perform those same tasks.  If it’s double-dipping to pay Wiley-Blackwell a subscription fee to get access to the peer-reviewed published articles, why isn’t it double-dipping to pay PLoS or Biomed Central?  Aren’t we still making the taxpayer pay twice?

This is no criticism of PLoS – I’m just looking for some consistency in how we judge these things.  PLoS has proven that a publication-fee based top notch journal can be successfully produced in certain well-funded disciplines.  And I’ve always been persuaded by the logic that says that since peer-reviewed publication is just the final step of a research project, it ought to be funded in the same way that all the rest of the costs of the project are.  That’s the justification for using grant funds to pay the fee.  And that explicitly makes the case that whatever it is that the taxpayers have paid for in doing the research, they have NOT paid for the peer review and publication.

But this also points to the weirdly ambiguous way in which we think about peer review and how it gets done and what its real value is.  It’s not hard to find bloggers and commenters who castigate publishers and repeat, ad nauseum, the refrain that publishers add next to nothing because most editors and peer reviewers are volunteers and who really needs that copyediting stuff anyway.  Do they feel the same way about the PLoS publication fee?  After all, PLoS makes a big deal about their vast network of peer reviewers – they have to rely on a tremendous amount of expert volunteer labor to make PLoS One the largest STM journal in the world (in terms of number of papers published).  And yet, the fact remains that even the $2,900/article fee that they charge for the flagship journals isn’t sufficient for them to break even on those journals alone.   So what are they paying for?

The same sort of sloppy thinking pervades discussions of the place of peer review in the NIH Public Access Policy.  On the one hand, it’s apparent that peer review is tremendously valued – NIH doesn’t want any papers deposited unless they’ve been peer reviewed.  And the expectation is that it is the publishers that perform that task.  So the Policy requires that publishers perform what is clearly considered to be an essential service – but then says there isn’t any need to compensate the publishers for that service, because it’s all done by volunteer labor anyway and isn’t nearly the kind of value-add that the publishers claim it is.

You can’t have it both ways.

NIH could have set up their own peer review mechanism.  After all, if the labor is all volunteer, and the publishers don’t really add anything of value to the process, why deal with them at all?  How hard can it be?  Indeed, in the original E-Biomed proposal that Varmus floated over a decade ago, he envisioned a peer review mechanism at NIH that would enable investigators to send their papers directly, without going through journals.  By the time E-Biomed had morphed into Pubmed Central, that idea had been dropped.  But it could be revived. 

Or, we could decide that the public’s need for access to the results of the research that they’ve paid for could be met by providing access to the progress reports and final reports that grantees have to submit to the funding agency.  Would that be enough?

But the proponents of open access clearly believe that it is not enough.  They want public access to the peer reviewed results of federally-funded research.  And they want that peer review to be facilitated by the publishers.  And they grind their teeth over having to pay a subscription fee to some publishers to fund that peer review process, but they happily pay a publication fee to OA publishers.

It’s the open access result that justifies paying the fee, not the fact that “taxpayers have already paid for it”.  If it’s not legitimate to pay a subscription fee to a publisher in order for them to handle peer review and publication, then it shouldn’t be legitimate to pay a publication fee, if the argument is that the taxpayers have already paid for it.

A logical argument could be:  In order to provide public access to the peer reviewed results of federally-funded research, taxpayers should pay an additional sum in order for those results to be published open access.  (Stuart Shieber’s “Equity for Open Access Journal Publishing” is a quite elegant proposal along these lines that should have gotten more attention and discussion than it did.)   You could argue that this is a more effective way of providing taxpayer funds for the peer review & publication processes, because then all taxpayers have access, rather than just those who can get through the subscription hurdles.  As an added benefit, you’d be insuring that the version that the public gets access to is the final, stewarded, version-of-record. 

But then you’d have to give up shouting indignantly that under the current system “the taxpayer is forced to pay twice!”  And what fun would that be?