I noted that the Nature Publishing Group has come out against the proposed Research Works Act, which would roll back the requirement that research funded by the US government be made freely available after (at most) one year. They are, I believe, the largest and most prominent journal publisher to take such a stand (although I'll be glad to be wrong about that):
NPG and Digital Science do not support the Research Works Act.
NPG and Digital Science exist to support the creation and dissemination of human knowledge on a sustainable commercial basis. We seek to enable the open exchange of ideas, especially in scientific communities, in line with the requirements and objectives of relevant stakeholders.
Update: from the comments, the AAAS (publishers of Science) have also come out against the RWA, saying that they're fine with the current system, and that their membership in the AAP does not mean that the organization speaks for them on this issue. How about the American Chemical Society? As far as I can tell, the ACS has made no statement, and silence speaks loudly.
Meanwhile, Rich Apodaca at Depth-First surprised me with this post coming out in favor of the RWA. But read the whole thing. He is, as the Marxists used to say, interested in "heightening the contradictions", and sees the scientific publishing industry bringing down the roof on its head even faster if the act passes. And the sooner that happens, he says, the sooner we can get rid of an outmoded system:
Any scientist who has been an active participant in scientific publication as an author, reviewer, and consumer recognizes that the only remaining value added by scientific publishers today is imprimatur. Imprimatur is the implied endorsement received by authors who publish in certain scientific journals, particularly in those that earned a high level of prestige during the pre-digital period of publication scarcity.
Ironically, imprimatur remains so valuable in science that it has kept numerous publishers afloat despite wave upon wave digital destruction being visited on sister industries such as book publication and newspapers.
But imprimatur can lose its luster, particularly in an environment in which fewer and fewer scientist can actually read the publications appearing in ‘high-impact’ journals. Prestige counts for nothing in science if your peers can’t read your papers. Nevertheless, that’s where scientific publication is heading.
I'm not sure which way is faster, myself. But we agree that the current scientific publishing model is being eroded, and that this is an opportunity, not a disaster that has to be repaired with legislation.