COUNTER - Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources
 

Codes of Practice

Last updated: August 2015

COUNTER compliance - a step-by-step Guide for vendors

The purpose of this Guide is to take Vendors who are interested in becoming COUNTER compliant through the compliance process, to enable them to select the COUNTER reports that are relevant to their products, and to describe what happens once a Vendor has become compliant. COUNTER compliance: a step-by-step Guide for Vendors

Release 4 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources (Published April 2012)

Release 4 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for e-Resources has been developed with input from vendors, librarians and intermediaries. This Release is a single, integrated Code of Practice covering journals, databases and books, as well as multimedia content. As such it supersedes both Release 3 of the Code of Practice for Journals and Databases and Release 1 of the Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works. The deadline date for implementation of Release 4 is 31 December 2013. After this date only those vendors compliant with Release 4 will be considered to be COUNTER compliant; vendors are encouraged to implement Release 4 before that date. Before 31 December 2013, only vendors compliant with the new Release 4, or vendors compliant with Release 3 for Journals and Databases or Release 1 for Books and Reference Works will be considered to be COUNTER-compliant.

COUNTER Usage Report XML Schemas

XML Schemas for the COUNTER usage reports have been developed by Project SUSHI (Standardised Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) and are available on the NISO website, where they may be accessed by clicking on the link below:

http://www.niso.org/schemas/sushi/#counter

THE SUSHI Harvester for Library Consortia

SUSHI Harvester - an introduction PDF (453KB)

COUNTER Audit

COUNTER Audit: guidance for vendors on implementation

An important feature of the COUNTER Code of Practice is that, from 2007, compliant vendors must be independently audited on a regular basis in order to maintain their COUNTER compliant status. To facilitate this, a set of detailed auditing standards and procedures has been published in Appendix E of the Code of Practice for Journals and Databases on the COUNTER website http://www.projectcounter.org/r2/R2_Appendix_E_Auditing_Requirements_and_Tests.pdf In developing these COUNTER has tried to meet the need of customers for credible usage statistics without placing an undue administrative or financial burden on vendors. For this reason audits will be conducted online using the detailed test scripts included in the auditing standards and procedures.

The independent audit will be required within 6 months of vendors achieving compliance with Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases and annually thereafter. Vendors will be reminded by COUNTER at least three months before the deadline for an audit is due. COUNTER will recognize an audit carried out by any Certified Public Accountant (USA), by any Chartered Accountant (UK), or by their equivalent in other countries. Alternatively, the audit may be done by one of the COUNTER-approved auditors, ABC Electronic or BPA International.

The Audit Process

 

  • COUNTER compliant vendors will be notified in writing by COUNTER that an audit is required at least 3 months before the audit is due.
  • Vendors should respond within 1 month of receiving the reminder by informing COUNTER of their planned timetable for the audit and the name of the organization that will carry out the audit. Any queries about the audit process may be raised at this time.
  • Irrespective of the auditor selected, the audit must adhere to the requirements and use the tests specified in Appendix E of the Code of Practice for Journals and Databases.
  • Upon completion of the audit the auditor is required to send a signed copy of the audit report to the COUNTER office Lorraine@projectCounter.org
  • If, for any reason, a vendor fails the audit, that vendor will be allowed a grace period of three months to rectify the reasons for the failure before being removed from the Register of COUNTER compliant vendors.
The Auditor
COUNTER will accept an audit done by any Certified Public Accountant (USA), by a Chartered Accountant (UK), or by their equivalents in other countries. Alternatively, the audit may be done by the COUNTER-approved auditor, ABC ELECTRONIC, with whom COUNTER has negotiated a special price for COUNTER members. ABC ELECTRONIC is a division of ABC, the long-established Audit Bureau of Circulations for the UK and Ireland which has been auditing print circulations since 1931. Founded in 1996, ABC ELECTRONIC is well qualified for the task of auditing COUNTER reports, being an industry-owned, not-for profit, independent organization that specialises in delivering website traffic audits. Currently ABC ELECTRONIC audits over 200 companies and has certified over 1400 domains worldwide. Further information on ABC ELECTRONIC can be found at:http://www.abc.org.uk .
ABC ELECTRONIC and the audit process

Prior to auditing a vendor ABC ELECTRONIC will contact the vendor to discuss the prescribed COUNTER auditing requirements and tests, with a particular focus on the following:

    1. Description of any validation of access to the content covered by any COUN TER report, e.g. login/password, IP authentication checking
    2. Description and examples of the COUNTER reports to be audited
    3. A multiple 2 or 3 seat (as applicable) licence to access the journal(s)/database(s) being audited and the usage reports generated (if possible)
    4. The URL identifier used for any claimed metrics such as Turnaways, Full-Text Articles, Database Searches etc.
    5. Explanation of how the numbers claimed in the report(s) being audited have been produced

Once the timetable for the audit has been agreed, the Auditor will:

    During the audit:
    • Conduct the tests specified by Appendix E for any and all metrics being reported by running the prescribed test scripts
    After the audit:
    • Receive reports from the Vendor
    • Check compliance of report(s) format to COUNTER code
    • Test and validate accuracy of reporting
    • Tolerance levels +2% / -8%
    • Deliver findings to COUNTER

    ABC may be contacted at counter@abce.org.uk

 

Previous Releases of Codes of Practice

(No Longer Valid)

Release 1 of the COUNTER code of Practice for Journals and Databases (published January 2003)

Release 2 of the COUNTER code of Practice for Journals and Databases (Published April 2005)

Release 3 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Journals and Databases (Published August 2008)

Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Books and Reference Works (Published March 2006)

Go back to the top