Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

© ACULow cost journals scheme

Established in London in 1913, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is the oldest international association of universities in the world.

Originally known as a ‘bureau of information for the universities of the Empire’, the organization was given different names until in 1963, fifty years after its beginnings, it received a royal charter under the new name of the ACU. In 1986 Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, agreed to become Patron of the ACU.

Amongst various projects, the ACU launched the Low Costs Journals Scheme,which allows university libraries in developing countries belonging to the Commonwealth to purchase Springer and other participating publishers (print) journals at highly discounted prices.

The ACU is a global network of outstanding human and scientific resources and the idea behind the Low Cost Journals Scheme is to provide university libraries in developing countries in the Commonwealth with access to high quality journals they can afford, since a large number of international journals are beyond the budgets of most universities in developing countries.

Started as a pilot in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2002, the ACU is currently expanding to other regions, i.e. to several African countries and some on the Indian sub continent, where the need for access to high quality information is in high demand.

Furthermore, ACU’s Low Cost Journals Scheme aims to collaborate with other journal support schemes, i.e. organizations that concentrate on electronic journals, to ensure a co-ordinated approach and increase access to information and knowledge in developing countries in the Commonwealth. 

Contact: Alan Harris

Springer list of eligible/recipient ACU countries per region


Ghana, Mauritius, Gameroon Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Siera Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Central America and the Caribbean

Jamaica (Not UWI), University of the West Indies (all campuses)

Indian Sub Continent

Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Pacific Ocean

Papua New Guinea, University of the South Pacific (all campuses)

South America