In case you haven't yet seen it, UC-Davis professor Jonathan Eisen, PhD, and Nick Shockey, with the Right to Research Coalition, have put together an animated video on how open access - described as "free, immediate, online availability of research articles with full re-use rates" - works. Discussing the importance of open access publishing, they say:
It's so irrational to think that scientists... are paid by the government to do research and to discover things and distribute that. And then two years of work by 20 people is going to be compressed into a paper and then not made available to people. It just doesn't make any sense.