Disentangling Gold Open Access

Authors : Daniel Torres-Salinas, Nicolas Robinson-Garcia, Henk F. Moed

This chapter focuses on the analysis of current publication trends in gold Open Access (OA). The purpose of the chapter is to develop a full understanding on country patterns, OA journals characteristics and citation differences between gold OA and non-gold OA publications.

For this, we will first review current literature regarding Open Access and its relation with its so-called citation advantage. Starting with a chronological perspective we will describe its development, how different countries are promoting OA publishing, and its effects on the journal publishing industry.

We will deepen the analysis by investigating the research output produced by different units of analysis. First, we will focus on the production of countries with a special emphasis on citation and disciplinary differences. A point of interest will be identification of national idiosyncrasies and the relation between OA publication and research of local interest.

This will lead to our second unit of analysis, OA journals indexed in Web of Science. Here we will deepen on journals characteristics and publisher types to clearly identify factors which may affect citation differences between OA and traditional journals which may not necessarily be derived from the OA factor.

Gold OA publishing is being encouraged in many countries as opposed to Green OA. This chapter aims at fully understanding how it affects researchers’ publication patterns and whether it ensures an alleged citation advantage as opposed to non-gold OA publications.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.04535

Global OA APCs (APC) 2010–2017: Major Trends

Author : Heather Morrison

The open access (OA) article processing charges (APC) project is a longitudinal study of the minority of fully OA journals (27% in 2016) that have APCs. The global average APC shows little change; in USD, 906 in 2010, 964 in 2016, 974 in 2017.

The average masks currency differences and the impact of a growing market; new APC journals often start with an APC of 0. Traditional commercial scholarly publishers are entering the OA market: the largest OA journal publishers’ portfolios in 2017 were Springer, De Gruyter, Elsevier, and Wolters Kluwer Medknow.

However, these are a small portion of OA journal publishing which is still marked by a very long tail and extensive involvement by very small, often university or society publishers. APC pricing shows a wide range and variability. The APC market can be described as volatile.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01816699

The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals

Authors : Hajar Sotudeh, Zahra Ghasempour


The present study explored tendencies of the world’s countries—at individual and scientific development levels—toward publishing in APC-funded open access journals.


Using a bibliometric method, it studied OA and NOA articles issued in Springer and Elsevier’s APC journals‎ during 2007–2011. The data were gathered using a wide number of sources including Sherpa/Romeo, Springer Author-mapper, Science Direct, Google, and journals’ websites.


The Netherlands, Norway, and Poland ranked highest in terms of their OA shares. This can be attributed to the financial resources allocated to publication in general, and publishing in OA journals in particular, by the countries.

All developed countries and a large number of scientifically lagging and developing nations were found to publish OA articles in the APC journals. The OA papers have been exponentially growing across all the countries’ scientific groups annually.

Although the advanced nations published the lion’s share of the OA-APC papers and exhibited the highest growth, the underdeveloped groups have been displaying high OA growth rates.

Practical Implications

Given the reliance of the APC model on authors’ affluence and motivation, its affordability and sustainability have been challenged.

This communication helps understand how countries at different scientific development and thus wealth levels contribute to the model.


This is the first study conducted at macro level clarifying countries’ contribution to the APC model—at individual and scientific-development levels—as the ultimate result of the interaction between authors’ willingness, the model affordability, and publishers and funding agencies’ support.

URL : The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.79.2.257

Converting the Literature of a Scientific Field to Open Access through Global Collaboration: The Experience of SCOAP3 in Particle Physics

Authors : Alexander Kohls, Salvatore Mele

Gigantic particle accelerators, incredibly complex detectors, an antimatter factory and the discovery of the Higgs boson—this is part of what makes CERN famous. Only a few know that CERN also hosts the world largest Open Access initiative: SCOAP3.

The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics started operation in 2014 and has since supported the publication of 20,000 Open Access articles in the field of particle physics, at no direct cost, nor burden, for individual authors worldwide.

SCOAP3 is made possible by a 3000-institute strong partnership, where libraries re-direct funds previously used for subscriptions to ‘flip’ articles to ‘Gold Open Access’. With its recent expansion, the initiative now covers about 90% of the journal literature of the field.

This article describes the economic principles of SCOAP3, the collaborative approach of the partnership, and finally summarizes financial results after four years of successful operation.

URL : Converting the Literature of a Scientific Field to Open Access through Global Collaboration: The Experience of SCOAP3 in Particle Physics

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/2/15

Gold Open Access Publishing in Mega-Journals: Developing Countries Pay the Price of Western Premium Academic Output

Authors : Jacintha Ellers, Thomas W. Crowther, Jeffrey A. Harvey

Open access publishing (OAP) makes research output freely available, and several national governments have now made OAP mandatory for all publicly funded research. Gold OAP is a common form of OAP where the author pays an article processing charge (APC) to make the article freely available to readers.

However, gold OAP is a cause for concern because it drives a redistribution of valuable research money to support open access papers in ‘mega-journals’ with more permissive acceptance criteria. We present a data-driven evaluation of the financial ramifications of gold OAP and provide evidence that gold OAP in mega-journals is biased toward Western industrialized countries.

From 2011 to 2015, the period of our data collection, countries with developing economies had a disproportionately greater share of articles published in the lower-tier mega-journals and thus paid article APCs that cross-subsidize publications in the top-tier journals of the same publisher.

Conversely, scientists from Western developed countries had a disproportionately greater share of articles published in those same top-tier journals. The global inequity of the cross-subsidizing APC model was demonstrated across five different mega-journals, showing that the issue is a common problem.

We need to develop stringent and fair criteria that address the global financial implications of OAP, as publication fees should reflect the real cost of publishing and be transparent for authors.

URL : https://research.vu.nl/en/publications/gold-open-access-publishing-in-mega-journals-developing-countries

Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

Authors : Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin

Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals.

This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options.

Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA).

We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications.

Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent.

Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

URL : Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4269

Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals

Authors : Alison Boba, Jill Emery

Utilizing the Project COUNTER Release 4 JR1-GOA report, two librarians explore these data in comparison to journal package subscriptions represented via the JR1 reports. This paper outlines the methodology and study undertaken at the Portland State University Library and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Library using these reports for the first time.

The initial outcomes of the study are provided in various Tables for 2014 and 2015. The intent of the study was to provide both institutions with a baseline from which to do further study. In addition, some ideas are given for how these reports can be used in vendor negotiations going forward.

URL : Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1629/uksg.291