The so-called "gold" avenue to open access is the publication of scholarly work, typically an article or monograph, with an open access publisher. To subsidize publishing costs, many journals require payment from authors in the form of an article processing charge (APC). The benefit of gold open access is the potential to share your research globally and immediately on a professional platform that is optimized to be discoverable and displayed in its final, peer-reviewed and formatted version.
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides an index to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, most traditional publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer also provide open access options.
Open access publishing still requires finding ways to fund operating costs. Many journals are supported by an institution or sponsor, but the most well known method of support is through Article Processing Charges (APCs), modeled after traditional page charges. Rather than charging the reader or institutions to access content, publishers generate revenue by requiring authors to pay an APC, ranging from a few hundred dollars, to upward of $5,000 depending on the journal. However, most open access journals do not charge authors an APC or have a waiver option for those who cannot afford to pay. (Suber, 2006) (Crawford, 2015).
It's important to remember that charging authors to publish is not solely limited to open access publishing, and can include charges for color images, number of pages, or including supplementary material.
As many funding agencies require researchers to make their published work and accompanying data sets openly accessible, authors may receive financial assistance from the agency to cover APCs. SHERPA/JULIET provides the open access policy of various funding organizations.
Authors publishing in subscription journals may be offered the option to make only their article open access for a fee (usually through an article processing charge). This is referred to as "hybrid open access." Such practices raise concerns about publishers double-dipping, whereby libraries are charged a subscription cost for material that authors previously paid to be freely available online. Most subscription journal publishers have an open access option - check the journal's website for details.