Beginning in 2019, information managers will see changes to the usage data they receive from publishers, because of a new release of the COUNTER Code of Practice.
COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources) is an initiative formed by NISO (National Information Standards Organization). Comprised of libraries and publishers to provide consistent, credible, and comparable usage reporting, COUNTER’s goal is to help libraries understand how content they obtain from a variety of vendors and publishers is being used. The updated Code of Practice will feature updates to the reports and metric types provided. To help you understand what these changes entail, this is the first in a series of blog posts that explain exactly what COUNTER is, what changes you can expect moving forward, and why it’s important to information managers.
Let’s begin with the basics.
For a publisher or vendor to be considered “COUNTER compliant,” they must undergo an independent audit to show compliance with the COUNTER Code of Practice (that their usage reports follow the standard reporting structure). You can see the current list of compliant entities here.
What usage reports are provided through COUNTER?
In terms of the usage reports provided, COUNTER reports include usage information on journals, databases, books, and more. These reports are provided on the publisher website or through SUSHI. SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) is a standard protocol created by NISO that automates the harvesting of COUNTER usage statistics. Usage reports are available monthly.
In 2017, COUNTER announced that they would be updating the COUNTER Code of Practice and moving from Release 4 to Release 5. According to their website, “Release 5 of the COUNTER Code of Practice is designed to balance changing reporting needs with the need to make things simpler, so that all content providers can achieve compliance and librarians can have usage statistics that are credible, consistent and comparable.”