It is no longer efficient or sustainable for humans to be the gatekeepers of academic content. Principles must be put in place so that content can still be reused long after the data creators are dead. Content must adhere to ethical and commercial sensitivities where necessary, but with the dawn of research data management plans, the funders of research ultimately decide what level of access society has.
and this snipped from the NIH public access plan:
“NIH intends to make public access to digital scientific data the standard for all NIH-funded research, as well as exploring ways to advance data as a legitimate form of scholarship through data citation and other means.”