I sometimes hear that "ordinary members of the public" would never need access to a scientific paper, that they wouldn't be interested. (I heard this at a meeting just this week.)
Here is a concrete example: There are debates about speed limits within cities. Citizens often want to present evidence for appropriate speeds. Vast amounts of the evidence are in closed-access scientific journals. For example, Accident Analysis and Prevention.
The key article "Vehicle travel speeds and the incidence of fatal pedestrian crashes"? $41.95
The article "Safety effects of 30 km/h zones in the Netherlands"? $41.95
I wanted to put forward this example to emphasize that the journal literature encompasses a very wide range of topics.
(The journal does permit Open Access, under Elsevier's Copyright and Open Access terms, but that is of limited help for old articles, from 1992 and 1997 in this case.)