What is COUNTER?
Project COUNTER is an organization working with librarians and publishers to set standards on how we report usage of electronic resources, such as eBooks, in a consistent way. This allows libraries to compare usage data accurately across different publishers.
What does it mean to be COUNTER compliant?
Although publishers can produce COUNTER style reports (which are based on the Code of Practice), this doesn’t automatically make the platform’s reporting COUNTER compliant. To comply with the COUNTER Code of Practice, publishers must undergo an independent audit and present COUNTER with a successful audit report. We use COUNTER standards to report usage statistics for eBooks via our eBooks platform, and will be looking to start the COUNTER compliance audit process this year.
Where can I find the COUNTER Release 5 reports for my library?
COUNTER Release 5 reports apply to usage data from January 2019 onwards.
A tool is available on Taylor & Francis eBooks for librarians to download their usage reports.
What are some of the key differences I should know about with Release 5?
‘Investigations’ is a new metric enabling a user to perform any action in relation to a content item. These items can include abstracts, supplementary material, citations, downloads and references. All of these actions would count as ‘investigations’. This has been introduced so that librarians can see what else users are interested in around a piece of content, as well as downloads.
‘Requests’ is the new terminology for a full-text HTML view or PDF download. Request is a sub-set of the ‘investigations’ metric.
Investigations and requests will be summarized in reports as ‘total_item’,‘unique_item’ and ‘unique_title’, Under Release 4, a full-text HTML view and a PDF download of an article was counted as two downloads on Taylor & Francis Online. Release 5 addresses this with two new metrics for summarizing investigations and requests, where an item is defined as an article:
- ‘Total_Item’ counts all article requests or investigations across all formats and is most comparable to Release 4 usage.
- ‘Unique_Item’ counts unique requests or investigations regardless of format, i.e. if a user makes a full-text HTML view and a PDF download of an article in the same session this would only count as 1.
- ‘Unique_Title’ counts unique requests or investigations regardless of format at the title level. I.e. if a user makes a PDF download for 2 different chapters within the same book, this would count as 1.
Please note that value might be impacted by these new metrics. For example, you may choose to report on Total_Item_Requests in future, because it is comparable to the usage in Release 4, even though it might not be comparable across platforms. Or you may decide to use Unique_Item_Requests or Unique_Title_Requests, which are more comparable across platforms, however this could impact your usage counts and therefore perceived content value. If you choose the latter two, you may need to re-baseline your value metrics and communicate what this means to senior stakeholders.
What reports will I see in Counter Release 5?
Release 5 introduces a significant change in reporting, where as well as static predefined reports by COUNTER. In addition, Master reports, reports allow you to filter and configure (or ‘slice and dice’) to create customized views of usage data.
PR_P1 Platform Usage shows ‘Searches_Platform’, ‘Total_Item_Requests’ and ‘Unique_Item_Requests’ summarized at the platform level. This report is most comparable to the Release 4 Platform Report 1.
TR_B1 Book Requests (excluding OA_Gold) shows ‘Total_Item_Requests’ and ‘Unique_Title_Requests’ summarized at the book level and excludes Gold Open Access content. This report is most comparable to the Release 4 Book Report 1 + Book Report 2 (BR1 only included Book-level downloads, BR2 only included chapter-level downloads, TR_B1 includes both-OA).
TR_B2 Book Access Denied shows ‘Limit_Exceeded’ and ‘No_License’ summarized at the Book level. This report is most comparable to the Release 4 Book Report 3.
TR_B3 Book Usage by Access Type shows total and unique investigations and requests by access type summarized at the Book level.
IR_A1 Journal Article Requests shows ‘Total_Item_Requests’ and ‘Unique_Item_Requests’ to articles available on Taylor & Francis eBooks.
IR_M1 Multimedia Item Requests shows ‘Total_Item_Requests’ to multimedia item content
PR Platform Master Report create and pull customizable reports summarized at the platform level.
TR Title Master Report create and pull customizable reports summarized at the title level.
IR Item Master Report create and pull customizable reports summarized at the article level.
Where have Consortium Reports gone?
Release 5 initially removed Consortium reports because their size makes creating and consuming them impractical. Consortia should use SUSHI to harvest individual reports for each member. In the longer term, COUNTER will facilitate the creation of tools that will make obtaining consortia usage a simple, one-step process and have recently announced an update to the Code of Practice to allow for consortia reporting within the master reports, which Taylor & Francis are looking into incorporating into the COUNTER reports.
Why aren’t there total rows in the new COUNTER Release 5 reports?
Release 5 eliminated the total rows within the reports, so you will need to calculate these manually if you still require totals.
Why can’t I see ‘zero usage’ in my Master Reports and Standard Views anymore?
The other element that has been removed from Release 5 Master Reports and Standard Views is zero usage. For technical reasons, not all publishers or vendors are able to determine for which titles and date ranges zero usage would have to be included in their reports.
I am using Sushi Harvesting for downloading usage reports, will COUNTER Release 5 have an impact on this?
There will be some very minor changes to the functionality of Sushi Harvesting with COUNTER Release 5. These include changes to the Request URL. A brief guide and walk through of these changes can be found here.
Where can I find further detailed technical and usage support for the transfer to COUNTER Release 5?
Project COUNTER has written a Friendly Guide to Release 5 for Librarians, which provides plenty of support and guidance on any particular question you may have including a step by step guide on reporting using Counter 5. COUNTER have released multiple foundation videos for an easy visual guide.
If you have any further queries, please get in touch with us at email@example.com or via your sales manager and we will be pleased to help.