A very bright and concise way of explaining the economic implications of the peer-review process
Peer-review is a privatized industry in which public interest is an externality. The public pay for raw research to be performed, but we don’t pay for the peer-review or publishing necessary to turn it into the finished article – published research. Instead, academic journals are in the business of refining raw product and selling the result. In this case, the refined product is sold back to the research institutions who subscribe to it. Nobody pays for public access, and there’s no great incentive for publishers to provide it.