Scholarly journals should be treated as a public good for five reasons. First, scholarly journal articles have many public good characteristics, and many of their private good characteristics are created by choice. Second, our current system undersupplies students with scholarly journals. Third, the supply chain for journals from publisher to user is burdened by many deadweight losses. Fourth, online publishing might reduce those deadweight losses enough to fund a system freely available to scholars. Finally, treating scholarly journals as public goods can meet the needs of all stakeholders.
Black, Steve. (2003). Scholarly journals should be treated as a public good. Serials Librarian, 44(1-2), 52-63. doi:10.1300/J123v44n01_07