I value the reputation of the journals to which I submit articles. Mostly, I wish to confront my work with the most competent researchers in my field through peer review, in order to have an expert opinion on its quality. In my field, the best ranked/most reputable journals are dominantly subscription-based (although all offer 3'000$ open access (OA) options, that not many researcher choose). So I give priority to reputation/quality over OA policy. On the other hand, I'm well aware that subscription journals are a big weight on universities budget.
So, does OA* really help access to science and save taxpayer money?
The arguments I know about that suggest it does:
I'm aware of the arguments (very efficiently publicized by big OA publishers like Frontiers) that OA is good karma because it gives access to science 'for free'. People argue that when the taxpayers pay for research, they should also get to read the results without paying a subscription.
Reasons for which I'm not sure it does:
I believe that if every article costs 500-3000$ just to publish, and the total number of article explodes, taxpayers (or private funds) are not winning a lot in the change. I also think that people can go to the library to get access to research.
Isn't it reasonable to use the options that we have to freely give access to our work (self-archiving, sending preprint to people who ask politely, etc.).
ps. I published in both OA and subscription-based, and I will gladly submit to OA journals if they end up being the highest quality ones in my field.
*I'm talking about OA journals with article processing charge. I'm aware of the existence of completely free OA journals (funded by universities I presume), but they are only relevant for a few research topics. And not mine.
Edit apparently the science funding agencies of the UK think that gold OA is not that good of a strategy.