Claims that monograph publishing is in crisis may be exaggerated, and there may be many opportunities in moving to an open access model, but there are still issues to consider (“Please log in to book a place in the future”, News, 22 January).
One of the problems of digital editions is the continuing high cost of academic e-books, which are often priced the same as the printed volumes. There are less expensive ways to publish digital editions (as .pdfs or even e-books), but compromises will then be necessary.
I have chosen this route myself to make my outputs more easily accessible. For this purpose I use Linux, LyX (LaTeX with a graphical user interface), GIMP (a GNU image manipulation programme) and, where necessary for a geographic information system, QGIS. The file is then exported as a .pdf and sent to my local printer. The printer tidies up the .pdf file using Quark. The end product is an acceptable .pdf and off-print run of 100 hard copies for distribution to the legal deposit libraries and to institutional libraries.
Discounting my time in the basic production, the entire process can be completed for less than £1,000. Although the standard may be compromised to some extent, the output is serviceable for disseminating knowledge and information.