Ph.D. Student Viewpoint: Scientists, Consider Where You Publish
"For scientists, publishing a paper in a respected peer-reviewed journal marks the culmination of successful research. But some of the most prestigious and sought-after journals are so costly to access that a growing number of academic libraries can't afford to subscribe.
Before submitting your next manuscript, consider a journal's access policy alongside its prestige - and weigh the implications of publishing in such costly periodicals. Two distinct problems continue to plague scientific publishing. First, institutional journal subscription costs are skyrocketing so fast that they outstrip the ability of many libraries to pay, threatening to sever scientists from the literature. Second, the taxpaying public funds a terrific amount of research in this country, and with few exceptions, can't access any of it. These problems share a common root - paid access to the scientific literature..."
"...before you fire off that next manuscript to Cell, consider this: scientific journals exist to record and disseminate research results, not to make publishers rich or restrict access to vital information. Some journals are already working to provide someform of free access to published work - others steadfastly refuse and fight any government pressure to do so. True open access alternatives do exist, and with the arrival of high-profile journals like PLoS Biology, PLoS Medicine and PLoS Genetics, they can be quite prestigious indeed. Familiarize yourself with the landscape before choosing sides. As educated scientists, it may be refreshing to consider that where you publish is but a shorthand for the quality of your work. You do, always, have a choice."
Source: Michael Seringhaus. Scientists, consider where you publish. Neurobiol. Lipids Vol. 3, 10 (2 November 2004) [FullText]