I must protest Ms. Schroeder's comments that manuscripts in scientific journals are not paid for by government (An unfair formula, Letters, Boston Globe, March 30, 2009: A14).
In many fields, especially the biological sciences, publishers charge authors an article processing fee or a page charge for their submissions and publications. Researchers when applying for research grants build submission fee costs and page charge costs into their budget proposals.
When grants are received for the research from government granting agencies, governments are indeed paying for the production of the manuscript. For these publishers the one-year delay before free public access seems very reasonable.
[Editor. See http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/authors/apccomparison/ for evidence]
Sent to Boston Globe