For many years, MS Office has been dominating the market of office software. It has also been omnipresent in the academic world. However, for several years now, there has been the alternative of OpenOffice, now essentially superseded by LibreOffice. LibreOffice is not better than MS Office. But it affords the same service as MS Office for academic users; and in contrast with MS Office, it is free software.

Practically all publishers and editors of linguistic work (and probably in most other disciplines, too) have gotten accustomed to require MS Word files from authors. Very few accept LibreOffice files. (Ironically, many even reject LaTeX files, although these relieve publishers from typesetting costs.)

For authors using text software other than MS Word, the consequences are intolerable. Sending their original files to the publishers/editors would be a ridiculous mistake. The file would either be rejected or somebody would try to import it into MS Word, with desastrous consequences. Alternatively, authors can export their file in MS Word format and submit the export. In this case, however, they cannot control the formal quality of what they are submitting; the LibreOffice export function is not so much better than the MS Word import function. In any case, somebody must spend many hours on fixing the converted file.

If these publishers receive a commission from Microsoft for this behavior, it would at least be understandable, though immoral. If they don't, it becomes plainly irrational to make scientific publication dependent on one commercial enterprise, and hostile towards such authors who do not have the means to pay for MS Office and its regular updates. It is high time that some authors' lobby make itself heard by publishers and editors.