The golden path of open access publishing - also called open access gold - refers to the initial publication of scholarly works as an open access publication. This primarily involves articles in open access journals that employ the same peer-review process for quality assurance as conventional academic journals.

However, whole books can also be published open access.

The publications are available to everyone worldwide free of charge, without embargos, i.e. immediately after publication.

 In order for users to access them free of charge, authors usually have to transfer so-called "Article Processing Charges" (APCs), i.e. publication costs, to the publisher, which can vary depending on the publisher and the subject area.