The case of a semi-open-access academic journal

I began reading Dana Boyd’s article “open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals” with skepticism because I couldn’t imagine how a journal could be published freely considering the cost of editing and printing. I knew most of the reviewing was carried out voluntarily by people working in or retired from the field but I hadn’t realized that so much of the editing was also done by volunteers. I was still wondering how it might realistically be managed when I remembered reading an article about just such an event in the newsletter of a scientific organization of which I’m a member.
As a professional biologist I am expected to be a member of professional organizations and one of the ones I have held membership in for many years is the National Shellfisheries Association, and I also subscribe to its publication, The Journal of Shellfish Research (JSR). I subscribe to the publication for two reasons, the first is because I don’t have access to scientific journals during the years I am not affiliated with VIU, specially this one that is very relevant to my professional interests, and secondly because I like having the hard copy to peruse at my leisure, away from the computer. An article in this spring’s newsletter described how in 2007 the association began publishing “online via BioOne, a non-profit organization started in 1999 by scientific societies and libraries to help those societies publish online. BioOne now serves a community of over 140 society and institutional publishers, 4,000 accessing institutions, and millions of researchers worldwide. Through 2014, BioOne returned more than $31 million to societies through royalties and revenue-sharing.” This is achieved because each time an individual accesses the BioOne site via a library portal it counts towards royalties that BioOne, as a non-profit organization, returns to the publishing societies from money receives from subscriptions. The NSA reports that from 2007, when it joined BioOne, to 2015 it had earned $425,000, which is great to hear but it make me wonder why I’m continuing to pay full subscription fees on top of membership fees; it seems like an undefined donation on my part. Although this doesn’t make the current journal and its contents open-access it does create a more affordable publishing platform for professional organizations and institutions, and on an even more positive note, issues of JSR published prior to 2007 are available openly on the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.
BioOne launched an open-access journal in 2013 called Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene which calls for contributions of “original research reporting on new knowledge of the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems; interactions between human and natural systems; and steps that can be taken to mitigate and adapt to global change”. It says it embraces “the concept that basic knowledge can foster sustainable solutions for society” “on an open-access, public-good basis”. So it looks like the financial aspects of open-access publishing have been figured out and it’s just a matter of progressive minds working together with a desire to make the change for it to happen. Nevertheless, I’ll still be paying for the JSR to sit on my side table so I can pick it up and ponder the many new research findings as I flip the pages while reclining in comfort of my sofa.