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Walt Crawford's report on Gold Open Access 2013-2018 (GOA4) found that in 2018 over 700,000 articles were published in gold open access in the world, of which 42% was in journals with no author-paid fees.
The figure varies significantly depending on region and kind of publisher: 75% if university-run, over 80% in Latin America, but less than 25% in Western Europe.
Advantages and disadvantages of open access have generated considerable discussion amongst researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, editorial staff and society publishers.
Reactions of existing publishers to open access journal publishing have ranged from moving with enthusiasm to a new open access business model, to experiments with providing as much free or open access as possible, to active lobbying against open access proposals.
This would ultimately result into a new set of obstacles to authors, which already systematically discriminate against those with lesser financial privilege, irrespective of what proposed countermeasures are in place.
Therefore, the current implementation of APC-driven OA is distinct from the original intentions of OA, creating a new barrier for authors, and leading to an OA system where "the rich get richer".
The most commonly recognised names are "green", "gold", and "hybrid" open access; however a number of others terms are also used for additional models.
The publisher makes all articles and related content available for free immediately on the journal's website.
What remains unclear is how these APCs reflect the true cost of publication and are related to the value added by the publisher.
It has been argued that publishers to some extent take the quality – as indicated by citation rates per paper – into account when pricing APCs, As of 2015, the average expenditure via subscriptions for a single research article is estimated to be around USD ,500–,000 (based on total amount spent divided by total number published), but production costs are highly variable by publisher.