Kısmet is the Turkish word for fate. It is also an open access publishers founded in early 2014 by a small group of academics from the University of Leeds in response to the changing state of academic publishing. Kısmet specialises in publishing peer-reviewed research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. We’re run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, and owned by our employees. We began publishing our first books in late 2016.
Kısmet, at its core, is an open access press. All our books are freely available to read online from the day they are published, indefinitely and without restrictions. We want our print copies to be accessible too: publications are available in print for at least ten years, and priced as affordably as possible. Publication costs are offset through the sale of print and electronic copies (£7–£25 for most print copies, £4–£10 for electronic editions) and through institutional funding where available. We do not charge authors to publish with us.
Kısmet was founded as a not-for-profit social enterprise. This affects both our long-term goals and how we operate on a day-to-day basis.
Where possible, we work with companies that share our values. Our website is hosted in Iceland by Orange Website, and is powered by 100% renewable energy – both geothermal and hydropower. Our printers, Ingramspark/Lightning Source, have received certificates from The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™), The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), and our print-on-demand model minimises waste in the print and distribution process: books are printed as they are ordered, and sent directly to where they are needed. We even chose our phone company, The People’s Operator, for its charitable mission.
Our finances mirror our values: all our income is split between covering our running costs, paying our authors, investing in the Press, the Kısmet Early Career Writing Fund, and charity. The Kısmet Early Career Writing Fund will provide a stipend to help early career researchers produce a publication for us. Authors can elect to forego their royalties in exchange their portion of book sales going directly to charity. If authors choose to do so, all electronic copies of their books are offered for free download.
Kısmet is a limited liability partnership (LLP) owned and managed by its partners. As a publicly listed partnership, key information about us is freely accessible through Companies House and elsewhere, and we plan to supplement this on our website. Crucially, however, this legal structure is highly flexible and allows us to shape the Press around our own ideals. Kısmet was founded to develop an ethical, financially sustainable, and socially responsible model of publishing. Our Partnership Agreement binds all the partners into pursuing the ideals of the Press, including running the Press on a not-for-profit basis and acting as a social enterprise. The opening paragraphs of the Partnership Agreement set out our aims:
The purpose of the LLP is to produce high quality publications and ensure that they are widely accessible to both readers and potential authors. To do this, we will provide immediate, free access to all of our publications online. This will be funded through the sale of print copies and downloadable e-books, as well as other funding streams such as subscriptions and donations. The LLP was founded to be a social good. We believe that the restrictive practices of many publishers, universities and authors are detrimental to authors, readers, and the intellectual health, happiness and well-being of society as a whole. Restrictive publishing policies and attitudes impede social, cultural, economic and political democracy. It is to everyone’s benefit to ensure that high quality publications are as widely available as possible. It is the responsibility of us, the Members, to ensure that the LLP reflects these values in both its overall direction and daily operations.
We regard the press as a public good. We believe that we have a responsibility to our authors, editors, readers, researchers, and peer-reviewers to make the press sustainable in the long term, and this means charging enough for our books, whether in print or electronic format, to cover our operating costs, collecting publication or subvention fees only when institutionally available, and otherwise allowing unrestricted online access to the research we publish. But the goal is sustainability, not profit. Any profits we do make will either be reinvested in the Press, used for our Early Career Writing Fund, or given to charity. We pay our authors, editors, and freelancers as much as we are able, while charging our customers no more than we need to. Wherever possible, we work with ethical partners; for banking, webhosting, and printing.
Kismet Press LLP, Partnership No. OC397880. England & Wales. 15, Queen Square, Leeds, LS2 8AJ, UK.