I have been always interested in books and publishing. My mother owned a bookstore and I have been surrounded by books since I was born. How easy it has become in recent years to produce and distribute books and journals has lured me into attempting self publishing with “Beyond the Visible”, and nowadays our UV4Plants Bulletin and a couple of new books in preparation. The actual limitations are no longer technical or monetary in nature, just the time used by editors, reviewers, and of-course authors. Sometimes I marvel at being able to run a website, the depository of published articles and issues, an on-line manuscript management system and producing a journal with an ISSN number, and assigning each article a DOI, for a total cost of less than 40 € per month. How is this possible when commercial publishers may charge authors a few 1000 € per open-access article published?
Part of the explanation is that we are using free software for all steps in the production of the Bulletin, and that the company providing web hosting to us is also doing the same. Of course developing software has a cost, at least in time spent by the programmers, but much of the programming effort is based on crowd-contributions, but usually some monetary support is still needed for the coordination of big software development projects. For example, the development of OJS (open journals system) we are using for the Bulletin is supported different organizations. The blog post linked, describes what these organizations, which include some really big players, are attempting to create as an alternative to the current publishing system, mainly with the aim of finding a way of funding open-access publication in a fair and reasonable way, without excluding authors or readers who cannot pay. As our Association is benefiting from these efforts, I encourage our members to inform themselves about The Open Access Publishing Cooperative Study and the Public Knowledge Project. I think, as authors, all of us should pay attention to current developments in academic publishing.