A quick one here since I think there is not much complication to this issue. As many know – I am a big big advocate of “open access” to the scientific literature. I think if the taxpayers / government pay for research (and
pays for salaries/indirect costs/etc that go into publishing) then the results of that research (data, papers, software) should be available freely and openly. I think it is also better if ANY scientific writing could be freely and openly available (e.g., research paid by private funds).
However, this does not mean that one should not pay for writing about science. I think we as a society need to support good science writing and reporting. I subscribe to the New York Times –
party partly for access to the science writing (not all of which I like but some of which is phenomenal). I subscribe to Wired. I donate (occasionally) to blogs. I subscribe to Scientific American. I buy good science books (sometimes many copies and then give them out – like I did with Rebecca Skloot’s HeLa book which).
So I call on people out there – whether you support Open Access to government funded work or not – pay for some good science writing. Buy a book. Subscribe to a magazine. Donate to a blog. Do something to support those who enrich our lives. Science writers need to earn a living after all …