Amanda D. Clark, in a February PeerJ study looking at citations in hybrid journals:

…. we found that publishing open access in hybrid journals that offer the option confers an average citation advantage to authors of 17.8 citations compared to closed access articles in similar journals. After taking into account the number of authors, Journal Citation Reports 2020 Quartile, year of publication, and Web of Science category, we still found that open access generated significantly more citations than closed access (p < 0.0001). […] This citation advantage based on access type was even similar when comparing open and closed access articles published in the same issue of a journal (p < 0.0001). However, by examining articles where the authors paid an article processing charge, we found that cost itself was not predictive of citation rates (p = 0.14). Based on our findings of access type and other model parameters, we suggest that, in the case of the 152 journals we analyzed, paying for open access does confer a citation advantage.

The cake-and-eat-it-too business of hybrid-journals—where subscription revenues are joined by per-author APCs—hinges on the presumed citation (and readership) benefits for the OA articles. In theory, authors get the boost of inherited prestige from legacy journals with, as an expensive bonus, OA gatelessness. cOAlition S has, of course, gone after publishers’ hybrid-style double-dipping, but that hasn’t stopped the practice.

Clark and her PeerJ coauthors mention the author-exclusion stakes, but the piece settles for what amounts to author self-help advice: Publish gold if you can, but if you can’t, take the green route. That’s all well and good, but—as the authors claim—“publishing gold OA article in a hybrid journal maximizes citations in most scenarios.” Even if green citation results are better than the closed alternative, it’s still the unjust reality that only well-heeled researchers can, so to speak, reach for the top shelf.