Gold Open Access (also: the ‘Gold Road to Open Access’ or ‘primary publication’)



The primary publication of a scientific or scholarly work as an article in an OA journal or its primary publication by an OA publisher is referred to as gold open access. The difference to the conventional commercial publishing model is that no subscription charges have to be paid in order to access the work. Subscription charges are the fees paid by academic libraries to publishers in order to be supplied with printed versions of academic journals. Access to digital journals is governed by licensing agreements between the academic publishers and the libraries.

  • Authors who wish to use the Gold OA model may still have to pay publication fees. These are frequently referred to as article processing charges (APCs) and are levied by some OA journals for publishing accepted articles.
  • There is no difference between Gold OA articles and closed-access articles in terms of quality assurance, as in both cases the articles will normally be peer reviewed.
  • In contrast to the traditional business model, authors choosing the Gold OA model will typically retain copyright and will transfer only non-exclusive (rather than exclusive) usage rights to the publisher. Typically the authors’ OA articles are published under a free licence, such as a Creative Commons licence.

Additional information