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Amendments and clarifications to the Code of Practice Release 5

In response to the questions and comments COUNTER has received from Content Providers implementing Release 5 of the COUNTER Code of Practice, the following amendments and clarifications have been made. The Code of Practice will shortly be updated to reflect these changes.


The Unique_Titles metrics are only intended for Books and must not be calculated for other Data_Types as they are not meaningful for them. A Unique_Title is defined as the unique combination of:

Note that Section_Type is not involved in calculating a Unique_Title.  COUNTER recognizes that in rare cases, a book may contain both OA_Gold and Controlled sections and acknowledge that this could inflate counts in cases where a user has requested a Master Report for all Access_Types where counts are summarized by Access_Type. The acknowledgement is made with the understanding that it is not viable for reporting systems to calculate Unique_Titles at run-time.


Do denials count as investigations or do only successful investigations count?

Only successful Investigations must be counted. Please note that one user action might result in both a Denial and an Investigation being counted when access to full text is denied (Denial) and the user then is redirected to an abstract (Investigation).

Note that for simplicity and accuracy, return codes 200 and 304 must be counted as Investigations or Requests, based on the content being accessed.

Requests for content that generate return codes 401, 402, and 403 or their semantic equivalent must be counted as Access Denied.


Link outs

Given the definition of ‘Investigation’ in the Glossary and the requirement for a return code of 200 or 304 for something to be counted, clicks such as those required for ILL or Link Resolvers should not be counted. Even if they could be counted as Investigations within current guidelines, doing so would result in double counting – one count at the referring database and a second at the hosting platform – which breaches one of COUNTER’s core principles.

COUNTER will look at the possibility of extending the Code of Practice to include link out (and maybe also link in) metrics once Release 5 has been rolled out.


Access_Type and YOP in Database and Platform Reports

Access_Type and YOP attributes and the corresponding filters will be removed from the Master Database and Master Platform Reports, because of the problems they cause with the Searches metrics.

There will be no changes for the Access_Type and YOP attributes and the corresponding filters in the Title and Item Reports.


Host_Type Full_Content_Database

We will add a Host_Type Full_Content_Database for non-aggregated full content databases, i.e. databases that are a collection of content items that are not otherwise part of a serial or monograph (so they cannot support Title Reports for Journals or Books). An example is Cochrane Library. This will make it easier to distinguish the different types of content providers in terms of reporting Data_Type:

For the Host_Type Full_Content_Database

Investigations and Requests must be reported with Data_Type Database.

For the Host_Types Aggregated_Full_Content and A&I_Database

Investigations and Requests must be reported with the title-level Data_Types (e.g. Journal for a journal article).

This applies to all reports that must be provided.


Double-clicks for Searches

Double-click filtering applies to all Metric _Types except for searches.

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