I think this quote sums up my thoughts on journal publishing:
In justifying the margins earned, the publishers, REL(Reed Elsevier) included, point to the highly skilled nature of the staff they employ (to pre-vet submitted papers prior to the peer review process), the support they provide to the peer review panels, including modest stipends, the complex typesetting, printing and distribution activities, including Web publishing and hosting. REL employs around 7,000 people in its Science business as a whole. REL also argues that the high margins reflect economies of scale and the very high levels of efficiency with which they operate.
We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process. We are not attempting to dismiss what 7,000 people at REL do for a living. We are simply observing that if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn’t be available. – Deutsche Bank AG, “Reed Elsevier: Moving the Supertanker,” Company Focus: Global Equity Research Report. (January 11, 2005), 36.
I got that quote from this very informative paper