Aim To question the efficacy of ‘gold’ open access to published articles.
Background Open access is unrestricted access to academic, theoretical and research literature that is scholarly and peer-reviewed. Two models of open access exist: ‘gold’ and ‘green’. Gold open access provides everyone with access to articles during all stages of publication, with processing charges paid by the author(s). Green open access involves placing an already published article into a repository to provide unrestricted access, with processing charges incurred by the publisher.
Data sources This is a discussion paper.
Review methods An exploration of the relative benefits and drawbacks of the ‘gold’ and ‘green’ open access systems.
Discussion Green open access is a more economic and efficient means of granting open access to scholarly literature but a large number of researchers select gold open access journals as their first choices for manuscript submissions. This paper questions the efficacy of gold open access models and presents an examination of green open access models to encourage nurse researchers to consider this approach.
Conclusion In the current academic environment, with increased pressures to publish and low funding success rates, it is difficult to understand why gold open access still exists. Green open access enhances the visibility of an academic’s work, as increased downloads of articles tend to lead to increased citations.
Implications for research/practice Green open access is the cheaper option, as well as the most beneficial choice, for universities that want to provide unrestricted access to all literature at minimal risk.
This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software