Terms of Service

Welcome to Acume. Our mission is to provide trustworthy, accessible, and diverse insights, bridging the gap between academic research and practical application in the international affairs and development sector. As a registered entity in England and Wales (company number 12888487), we are committed to facilitating meaningful exchanges between researchers, academics, and professionals.

These Terms of Service (“Terms”) govern your access to and use of the acume.org website (the “Website”) and all our products and services (collectively, “Services”). This includes all forms of interaction, such as direct contact with our team or engagements via social media platforms.


  • Our Services: Acume provides a platform for sharing academic research and offers expert advisory services, with the intention to bridge the gap between academia and practical application in international affairs and development.

  • Your Agreement: By using Acume, you agree to our Terms, which apply to all interactions on our platform and with us.

  • Privacy & Respect: Your personal information is protected per our Privacy Policy, and we have a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and harassment.

  • Always Your Content : Your original research and summaries are yours – you keep ownership. But granting us a license lets us host and share your work on Acume.

  • Content Usage: Feel free to use Acume-sourced content for your professional activities, just remember to attribute it properly and link back to our platform.

  • Quality Assurance: High-caliber services are our promise. Our experts are thoroughly vetted for their skills and readiness to meet your project needs.

  • Cancellations:

    • Cancel with more than 24 hours notice: No charge.
    • Cancel between 24 to 4 hours ahead: A fee may apply.
    • Cancel within 4 hours: The full fee is non-refundable.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: Not satisfied? Reach out within 5 days after service delivery to explore refund options.

  • Professional Integrity: Our experts are dedicated to providing trustworthy, confidential advice aligned with the highest ethical standards.

  • Indemnification & Disclaimers: Using Acume is at your own risk, and while we strive for the best service, we can’t guarantee perfection.

  • Staying Updated: We update our Terms periodically, and continued use of the service means you accept these changes.

Acceptance of Terms

By using our site, you acknowledge and consent to these Terms. Non-agreement to these Terms restricts access to our Website and Services. Note that our services are intended for individuals at least 16 years of age.

In addition to these Terms, please be aware of the following, which also govern your use of our site:

  • Our Privacy Policy, detailing our practices in handling your information.
  • Our Content Conduct, underscoring our zero-tolerance policy towards any content that includes any form of discrimination and harassment.
  • Our Logo Use guidelines for appropriate use of the Acume logo.

Failure to adhere to these Terms will lead to the termination of your account. We encourage you to use our services responsibly and at your own discretion. For any inquiries or clarifications, feel free to reach out to us at admin@acume.org.

Description of Services

Free Knowledge Sharing Platform

  • Acume’s platform provides a complimentary space for academics and researchers to share concise summaries of their latest research with professionals seeking to apply these insights for real-world impact.
  • Registered researchers can create profiles, post their research summaries, and engage with an international community, thereby contributing to a dynamic exchange of knowledge across the international affairs and development sectors
  • The views expressed by other users on our site might not represent our views or values.
  • The information and materials uploaded by other users of the site to the Website, including to bulletin boards and chat rooms, might not been verified or approved by us

Expert Advisory Services:

  • Acume connects policymakers, NGOs, and professionals with academic experts for personalised advisory sessions, providing a service that aligns expertise with the needs of clients (eg policy review, strategic planning advice, applying specialised expertise)
  • Our role is to facilitate the meeting between clients and experts, including the initial connection, handling the preliminary paperwork, ensuring confidentiality agreements, and providing training and briefing materials.

Sponsored Summaries:

  • Acume enables clients to commission and sponsor research summaries tailored to their specific interests. This service facilitates the outreach and collection of targeted insights from a diverse range of academics.
  • Sponsored summaries are prominently attributed to the client on Acume’s platform, showcasing their commitment to fostering knowledge and development within their field of interest.


Acume is committed to delivering the highest quality advisory services and research content to our government and NGO clients. We understand the importance of reliability and trust in our services, which is why we offer the following guarantees and resolutions:

Quality Assurance

  • Expert Selection: We meticulously vet each expert to confirm their expertise, background, and experience, ensuring an ideal match for your project objectives.
  • Preliminary Checks: To ensure a seamless service delivery, we conduct comprehensive checks to fully understand your requirements and preferences.
  • Expert Preparation: Mandatory training and preparation sessions are conducted with our experts to maximise the productivity and effectiveness of the consultation.

Performance guarantee

  • Additional Consultations: In the rare instance that our service does not meet the agreed-upon standards, we will provide additional consultations with the original expert or an alternative expert of your choice, to ensure your project needs are fully met.
  • Refund or System Credit: If after these additional measures the deliverables still do not align with the agreed standards, we will offer the option of a full refund or a system credit, which can be applied to future services. The choice will be yours, ensuring that you face no financial risk in choosing Acume as your knowledge partner.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

Acume values the time and expertise of our professionals, and we also understand that plans can change. Our refund and cancellation policy is designed to be respectful of both our clients’ and our experts’ time and commitments.

Cancellation by Clients

  • More than 24 Hours Notice: If you need to cancel a scheduled service, please do so at least 24 hours in advance. Clients who cancel more than 24 hours before the scheduled time will not incur any charges and any pre-paid fees will be fully refunded or credited back to your account, as per your preference.
  • 24 to 4 Hours Notice: Cancellations made less than 24 hours but more than 4 hours before the scheduled service time will be subject to a cancellation fee. This fee compensates our experts for the time they have set aside for the consultation. The cancellation fee will be [insert percentage] percent of the service fee.
  • Less than 4 Hours Notice: If the service is cancelled less than 4 hours before the scheduled time, the client will forfeit the full amount of the service credit or fee. This reflects the short notice for the expert, who may not be able to allocate their reserved time elsewhere.


Clients may reschedule a service without penalty more than 24 hours in advance. If you wish to reschedule within the 24-hour window, the above cancellation fees will apply.


Failure to attend a scheduled meeting without any prior notice will be treated as a cancellation with less than 4 hours’ notice, and the full-service fee will be forfeited.

Client Satisfaction Guarantee

  • Service Dissatisfaction: If you are not satisfied with the service provided, we ask that you report your concerns within 5 days after the service delivery. We will investigate the matter promptly to determine the cause of dissatisfaction.
  • Resolution Options: If it is determined that our services did not meet the agreed-upon standards, clients may be eligible for a partial or full refund, additional service credit, or a complimentary re-service, depending on the nature of the issue and the service agreement terms.
  • Refund Approval: Refund requests based on service dissatisfaction must be substantiated with clear reasons for the dissatisfaction. Acume reserves the right to validate these reasons and to offer an appropriate resolution.
  • Refund Processing: Approved refunds for service dissatisfaction will be processed to the original payment method within 20 business days. If that method is not available, we will arrange an alternative with the client.

Cancellation by Acume or Expert

If an expert cancels a scheduled service or fails to meet service standards, Acume will issue a full refund or credit, and we will endeavour to reschedule the service at a time convenient for the client, based on expert availability.

Processing of Refunds

Refunds will be processed in the original form of payment within 20 business days. If the original payment method is unavailable, we will arrange an alternative method with the client.


Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of Acume’s management in cases of emergency or unforeseen circumstances affecting either the client or the expert.

Responsibility of All Users

General terms

  • You are responsible for your conduct and the materials you provide, share, or promote through our Services.
  • You must strictly comply with applicable laws, copyright and intellectual property rights, and our established Content Rules. Our rules prohibit the posting of unlawful, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, hateful, or embarrassing content to another person or entity as determined by Acume at its sole discretion.
  • In order for us to provide our Services, you agree that we may process, transfer and store Personal Information about you in the UK, US, The Netherlands, or other countries, where you may not have the same rights and protections as you do under local law. We will always operate in accordance with GDPR and the Data Protection Act. We will only use your personal information as set out in our Privacy Policy.
  • We welcome feedback, including any comments, ideas and suggestions you have about our Services. We may use this feedback for any purpose, in our sole discretion, without any obligation to you. If shared with any third party outside of Acume’s team, we will remove personal identifiers from the feedback, but internally feedback will be treated as non-confidential.

Accounts & Security

  • You may need to register for an account to access some or all of our Services. Provide truthful and up-to-date information upon registration.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of your account details, including user identification codes and sign-up links. You must not disclose your login details to any third party.
  • Notify Acume at admin@acume.org promptly if you suspect any unauthorised use of your account or if a security breach occurs.
  • We have the right to disable any user identification code or account whether chosen by you or allocated by us, at any time, if in our reasonable opinion you have failed to comply with any of the provisions of these terms of use.

Access and Use by Others

  • You are responsible for ensuring that others who access our site using your internet connection are aware of these Terms of Service and other relevant conditions. They must also comply with these terms.

Representation and Authorisation

  • If you are accepting these Terms and using our Services on behalf of another individual or entity, you represent that you have the authority to do so. The terms “you” and “your” will refer to both you and the represented individual or entity.

Reporting Infringements and Concerns

  • Report any instances of copyright infringement, harassment, or other violations of our Terms of Service.
  • Issues and concerns should be reported to admin@acume.org

Content Sharing Responsibilities

Creating and Sharing Content

  • Researchers are encouraged to create and share content that aligns with Acume’s content policies on the Acume platform, ensuring your contributions are reflective of your scholarly work.
  • Ensure all shared content adheres to Acume’s content policies, is derived from research you have worked on directly, and respects the intellectual property rights of any collaborators or institutions.

Editorial Rights and Content Integrity

  • Acume retains the authority to request modifications or to directly edit content to correct inaccuracies, fill in gaps, or enhance usefulness to the community
  • Occasionally, we may edit grammar to ensure clarity, consistency, and alignment with our editorial guidelines.
  • Significant changes that add to or shift the original meaning or intention of the content will only be carried out with your expressed consent. You will be consulted and must agree to any major edits before they are finalised and made public.
  • Acume has the right to moderate, adjust, or remove any content that breaches these Terms.
  • Acume reserves the right to delete or discontinue content alleged to be infringing the intellectual property rights of others, and to terminate accounts of repeat infringers.

Content Submission Standards

  • Take responsibility for the ethical integrity of your submissions, ensuring they represent fair, truthful, and impartial research. Contributions should not mislead or cause harm.
  • Acume might review submissions, but the final accountability for content integrity lies with you, the contributor. Your content must adhere to ethical research standards and should be as accurate and unbiased as possible.
  • When sharing personal information of others within your content, you affirm that appropriate consent has been previously obtained for the original research. This consent must encompass the use of personal information in subsequent public sharing of your research summaries or insights on Acume’s platform, otherwise new consent is required.
  • It is your duty to anonymise personal data in your content to safeguard participant privacy, adhering to the ethical standards of research and data protection regulations.
  • All content must comply with applicable laws, including copyright laws, avoiding any infringement

Social Media Policy

  • Engage with Acume’s social media platforms in a manner that respects our Social Media Policy, fostering appropriate and respectful interactions.
  • Engage respectfully and constructively with other users and the community.

Expert Conduct and Responsibilities

Commitment to Assistance and Effort

  • Experts are required to make a dedicated effort to assist clients to the best of their ability. This involves understanding the client’s issues thoroughly and striving to provide the most effective and practical advice or solutions.
  • Preparation is key. Experts should come to each consultation fully prepared, having reviewed relevant materials and understood the client’s context and requirements.
  • It is essential for experts to invest time in comprehensively understanding the specific issues, challenges, or questions posed by the client. This understanding should be reflected in the tailored, relevant advice they provide.

Accuracy and Integrity

  • Accuracy in information and advice is paramount. Experts are expected to ensure that all information they provide is accurate and factual.
  • Experts must not misconstrue the trust placed in them by clients. They should act with integrity, respecting the confidential nature of the consultation and avoiding any actions that could mislead or deceive the client.

Conflicts of Interest

  • Experts are expected to provide advice and consultation based on objective analysis and evidence. While absolute neutrality may not be possible due to personal perspectives and experiences, experts must strive to avoid promoting agendas that unduly benefit specific groups over others.
  • At the beginning of any interaction, experts should disclose any personal beliefs or affiliations that might reasonably be seen to influence their judgment.
  • Any potential conflicts of interest, whether they be financial, academic, or personal, must be transparently disclosed. This ensures clients can make informed decisions about the advice they receive.
  • Experts should not allow external interests to influence the advice and insights they provide on the platform. They should clearly articulate any specific viewpoints they hold and ensure that these do not compromise the integrity of the consultation.

Confidentiality and Ethical Conduct

  • Experts agree to maintain strict confidentiality regarding all aspects of their consultations with clients. This includes, but is not limited to, the identity of the clients, the content of discussions, and any documents or information provided for context or review – unless explicitly agreed in writing.
  • When briefing notes or documents provided by the client contain confidential information, experts are required to use them solely for the purpose of preparing for and conducting the consultation. Such materials must be handled in accordance with any specific confidentiality agreements and securely disposed of or returned to the client after use, as per the client’s instructions.
  • Unless expressly agreed upon in writing, experts shall not disclose that they have provided services to the client, nor shall clients publicise their engagement with the expert.
  • Experts are prohibited from using any ideas, data, or proprietary information obtained from clients in any manner outside of the consultation without written consent. This includes refraining from unauthorised use of such information for personal gain, publication, or as a reference in any other client engagement.
  • The duty of confidentiality extends beyond the duration of the consultation. Experts must continue to treat all information with the same level of confidentiality after the consultation has concluded.
  • Experts must conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the ethical standards of their profession. This includes avoiding conflicts of interest, ensuring impartiality in their analysis and advice, and maintaining the highest levels of integrity.

Accountability and Complaint Handling

  • Experts are expected to honour all scheduled engagements. In the event an expert misses a meeting without prior notice or valid reason, Acume reserves the right to take appropriate action. This may include withholding payment for the missed engagement, temporary suspension, or removal from the platform, depending on the circumstances.
  • If a complaint is lodged against an expert, Acume will conduct a fair and thorough investigation into the matter. Experts are expected to cooperate fully with any such investigations and provide any necessary information or clarification. Consequences of a substantiated complaint may range from a warning to suspension or permanent removal from the platform, based on the severity and nature of the complaint.
  • In cases of disputes arising from missed meetings or complaints, Acume will facilitate a resolution process. This process aims to address and resolve issues amicably while upholding the terms of service and standards expected of experts on the platform.
  • Experts are encouraged to provide feedback about the complaint and dispute resolution process. Acume is committed to continuously improving these processes to ensure fairness and effectiveness.

Expert compensation

  • Before any paid engagement commences, the specific rates, payment processes, and schedules will be clearly communicated to and agreed upon by the experts. These terms will be formalised in individual agreements tailored to each engagement. Only those academic experts who provide advisory services to clients through Acume’s platform are eligible for compensation. Submitting summaries or other content to the platform does not entail payment.
  • Experts are solely responsible for all financial aspects of their engagement, including compliance with invoicing procedures, adherence to payment schedules, and management of tax liabilities. This encompasses declaring and managing income earned through the platform in accordance with the tax laws of their respective jurisdictions.
  • Experts are required to submit invoices for their services in accordance with the terms set forth in their individual agreements. Acume is committed to processing payments promptly upon receipt of a valid invoice.
  • Acume retains the right to alter payment terms as necessary. Experts will be informed of any such changes in a timely manner.

Contributor Ownership and Licensing

  • Acume owns or licenses all intellectual property on the site and respects the rights of contributors. We also reserve the right to extend this license to users of our platform.
  • All intellectual property rights and materials published on our website are protected by copyright laws and treaties around the world. All such rights are reserved.
  • Contributors keep ultimate ownership of their work and grant Acume a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, publish, share and distribute your work on the platform and through related channels such as newsletters, social media, media, blog posts and other publications. This license enables Acume to distribute your content across its services, ensuring it reaches a broad audience while still acknowledging your contribution. We need this license because you own your content and Acume therefore cannot display it across its various surfaces (i.e., mobile, web) or allow others to share it (i.e. on social media, in reports) without your permission. The license does not extend to ownership of any summary produced by you.
  • Contributors maintain the full rights of their original research paper, and are not required to include original papers in submission. 
  • Contributors may withdraw Acume’s license to use their content at any time, resulting in the removal of said content from the Acume platform.
  • So long as you comply with these Terms, Acume gives you a limited, personal, non-exclusive, and non-assignable license to access and use our Services. But these Terms do not grant you any right, title or interest in Acume’s Services or any other scholars’ content on the Services.
  • We may stop providing the Services or any of its features within our sole discretion. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage and may remove or limit content distribution on the Services.

Use and Citation of Site Material

  • Acume supports and encourages the use and citation of site content to enhance professional work and decision-making.
  • Cite content from the site accurately in reports, discussions, or social media, providing a link to the original source on Acume’s platform, and credit the author.
  • Sharing content on social media for knowledge sharing is endorsed, provided it respects the original context and includes proper attribution to Acume and to the original author.
  • Do not create additional copies or use site materials separately from their accompanying text without explicit permission.
  • You may use information to support work decisions and cite within work reports. Shared information should link back to the original Acume content to maintain context, whether as a hyperlink, in a blurb or within a reference
  • Unauthorised use of intellectual property may lead to termination of site access and obligations to return or destroy copied materials.

Linking to Our Site 

  • You may link to our home page, a blog or research summary, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it.
  • We grant you a non-exclusive, royalty-free, revocable, worldwide licence to use our logo to indicate the link to our website provided that you follow our Logo Use Guidelines and that you cease to use our logo in any form should we revoke our licence to you to do so in writing.
  • You must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval or endorsement on our part where none exists.
  • We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.

Text, Data Mining or Web Scraping

You shall not conduct, facilitate, authorise or permit any text or data mining or web scraping in relation to our site or any services provided via, or in relation to, our site. This includes using (or permitting, authorising or attempting the use of):

  • Any “robot”, “bot”, “spider”, “scraper” or other automated device, program, tool, algorithm, code, process or methodology to access, obtain, copy, monitor or republish any portion of the site or any data, content, information or services accessed via the same.
  • Any automated analytical technique aimed at analysing text and data in digital form to generate information which includes but is not limited to patterns, trends and correlations.

The provisions in this clause should be treated as an express reservation of our rights in this regard, including for the purposes of Article 4(3) of Digital Copyright Directive ((EU) 2019/790). 

This clause shall not apply insofar as (but only to the extent that) we are unable to exclude or limit text or data mining or web scraping activity by contract under the laws which are applicable to us.

Websites We Link To ​​

  • Acume provides links to third-party sites for additional information and convenience without endorsement. Such links should not be interpreted as approval by us of those linked websites or information you may obtain from them.
  • Users are advised to exercise caution and not provide payment details to unverified sites.


  • You must not introduce viruses or engage in technological harmful activities.  We prohibit the introduction of viruses, trojans, worms, logic bombs, or any malicious or harmful material.
  • You must not attempt to gain unauthorised access to our site, the server on which our site is stored or any server, computer or database connected to our site.
  • You must not attack our site via a denial-of-service attack or a distributed denial-of service attack
  • By breaching this provision, you would commit a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. We will report security breaches to authorities and we will cooperate with those authorities by disclosing your identity to them.
  • Any breach will result in immediate cessation of the right to use the site or Services
  • While we strive to keep our services protected, users accept that we are not responsible for viruses and the site cannot be guaranteed to be bug or virus-free and any viruses that may infect the user’s equipment due to the use of the site.
  • Users should use their own virus protection software when using the site.

Modifying and Terminating Our Website and Services

  • Acume may update the site to reflect changes in user needs and business priorities.
  • Users have the freedom to discontinue service use at their discretion.
  • We reserve the right to suspend or terminate service access without notice.
  • Availability of the site or content is not guaranteed to be uninterrupted or always accessible.


To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, you will indemnify, defend and hold harmless Acume, and our officers, directors, agents, partners and employees (individually and collectively, the Acume Parties) from and against any losses, liabilities, claims, demands, damages, expenses or costs (Claims) arising out of or related to your violation, misappropriation or infringement of any rights of another (including intellectual property rights or privacy rights) or your violation of the law. 

You agree to promptly notify Acume Parties of any third-party Claims, cooperate with Acume Parties in defending such Claims and pay all fees, costs and expenses associated with defending such Claims (including solicitors’ fees). 

You also agree that the Acume Parties will have control of the defence or settlement, at Acume’s sole option, of any third-party Claims.

Disclaimers — Service is “As Is”

Acume aims to give you great Services but there are some things we cannot guarantee. Your use of our Services is at your sole risk. 

You understand that our Services and any content posted or shared by users on the Services are provided “as is” and “as available” without warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement and thoroughness of research findings. While it is our intention, Acume cannot promise to warrant that our Services are accurate, complete, reliable, current or error-free. No advice or information represented by Acume or through the Services will create any warranty or representation not expressly made in this paragraph. 

In the event that Acume may provide information about third-party products, services, activities or events, or we may allow third parties to make their content and information available on or through our Services (collectively, “Third-Party Content”), we do not control or endorse, and we make no representations or warranties regarding, any Third-Party Content. You access and use Third-Party Content at your own risk. Some locations do not allow the disclaimers in this paragraph and so they might not apply to you.

Limitation of Liability

We do not exclude or limit our liability to you where it would be illegal to do so. This includes any liability for the gross negligence, fraud or intentional misconduct of Acume or the other Acume Parties in providing the Services. 

In countries where the following types of exclusions are not allowed, we are responsible to you only for losses and damages that are a reasonably foreseeable result of our failure to use reasonable care and skill or our intentional breach of our contract with you. This paragraph does not affect consumer rights that cannot be waived or limited by any contract or agreement.

In countries where exclusions or limitations of liability are allowed, Acume and Acume Parties will not be liable for:

(a)  Any indirect, consequential, exemplary, incidental, punitive, or special damages, or any loss of use, data or profits, under any legal theory, even if Acume or the other Acume Parties have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

(b) Copyright infringements, such as a content contributor’s uploading or sharing parts of an academic paper that is embargoed or otherwise restricted by any publisher. Or a content contributor sharing any other form of content that still holds copyright or other restrictions. 

(c) Other than for the types of liability we cannot limit by law (as described in this section), we limit the total liability of Acume and the other Acume Parties for any claim arising out of or relating to these Terms or our Services, regardless of the form of the action.

Resolving Disputes

We want to address your concerns without needing a formal legal case. Before filing a claim against Acume, you agree to contact us and attempt to resolve the claim amicably and informally by sending a written notice of your complaint or claim by email at admin@acume.org. The notice must (a) include your name, organisation, contactable email address, and direct telephone number; (b) describe the nature and basis of the claim; and (c) set forth the specific actions sought. Our reply to you will be sent to the email address you provided or associated with your online account within two (2) weeks. If we can’t resolve matters within sixty (60) days after any notice is sent, you may file a complaint against Acume.

These terms of use, their subject matter and their formation (and any non-contractual disputes or claims) are governed by English law. We both agree to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.


If any provision or part of a provision of these Terms is unlawful, void or unenforceable, that provision or part of the provision is deemed severable from these Terms and does not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.


Acume’s failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not operate as a waiver of such right or provision. Use of the word “including” will be interpreted to mean “including without limitation.” Except as otherwise provided herein, these Terms are intended solely for the benefit of the parties and are not intended to confer third-party beneficiary rights upon any other person or entity. 

You agree that communications and transactions between us may be conducted electronically.

Modifications to terms

We change this policy from time to time. If we do amend these Terms, we will notify you by revising the date at the bottom of this policy. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these Terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time. These Terms were most recently updated on 14 December 2023. 

Unless we say otherwise in our notice, the amended Terms will be effective immediately, and your continued use of our Services will confirm your acceptance of the changes. If you do not agree to the amended Terms, you must stop using our Services.

Last updated: 14 December 2023

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