COUNTER 5 – The Basics

Publishers have been using COUNTER for some time now to support consistent usage counting for their electronic resources. However, the standard has evolved over the years to keep pace with content structure changes and new publishing models. The latest version, COUNTER 5, became mandatory this January.

The new version was created with two overarching aims: meeting changing needs and reducing complexity. So what are the main differences you’ll see in COUNTER 5?

Standardized reports: Rather than a large number of special-purpose reports, there are now a smaller number of ‘master reports’, with standard headings, layout, terminology and drill-down options.

Increased flexibility: All reports can be broken down by a standard set of filters to allow users to get the particular slice of data they’re interested in. But for ease of use, each report also has some ‘standard views’, with filters pre-set for the most common use cases.

Clearer journal usage metrics: Instead of separating out HTML views and PDF downloads, COUNTER 5 measures unique item requests (without double counting, for example if a user views the HTML version of the article, and then downloads the PDF) and total item requests. In both cases, those counts cover all request types – separate HTML and PDF counts are no longer provided.

Support for new publishing models: Reports can be filtered by access type, in order to differentiate between open access and subscription content. And although it’s possible to view access via text and data mining processes, standard views include only human access methods – with increased amounts of open access content, it’s important to be able to exclude usage by robots.

Here are at DataSalon we’re fully ready to handle COUNTER 5 data: we can either harvest reports directly on behalf of publishers via the SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) protocol, or process publishers’ own COUNTER 5 reports for use within MasterVision. So if you need any help with your migration from COUNTER 4 to COUNTER 5, why not get in touch?