Many scholarly articles that contain research useful to the public are locked behind expensive subscription databases. Coupled with existing publishing and tenure/promotion practices, these contribute to a system that excludes the majority of citizens from accessing current academic findings. However, by publishing academic articles in open access journals instead, faculty at colleges and universities can play an important role in making it easier, and less expensive, for the public, media, and local leaders to read their work. This requires faculty to make different choices and a concurrent shift in how academic departments evaluate faculty publications.
Memo Cordova and Amber Sherman. "The Undue Cost of Academic Publishing: Democratizing Information Access" The Blue Review
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amber_sherman/14/