COUNTER’s library, vendor and content provider members have contributed to the development the Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice enables publishers and vendors to produce consistent and credible usage data. This allows libraries to compare data received from different vendors and publishers, and to understand and demonstrate the value of the electronic resources to which they subscribe.
Release 4 is the current Code of Practice and the requirement for COUNTER-compliance. The effective date for compliance with Release 5 is January 2019. The Transition Timeline and Transition Options graphics explains the detail.
|A&I database||A non-full-text database that typically contains article metadata, abstracts, and subject classifications. Used by researchers to locate publications relevant to their research.||PubMed,
|A&I service||A vendor or website that provides A&I databases||American Psychological Association (APA)|
|Abstract||A short summary of an article or content item.
A detailed view of article metadata that includes the summary but not the full text. Accessing the abstract/detailed view falls into the usage category of “Investigations”.
|Abstract and Index Database Host||See A&I service||APA, EBSCOhost, ProQuest|
|Access Denied||User is denied access to a content item because their institution lacks a proper license or because simultaneous user limits specified in the license have been exceeded|
|Access denied: limit_exceeded||User is denied access to a content item because the simultaneous user limit for their institution’s license would be exceeded.|
|Access denied: no_license||User is denied access to a content item because the user or the user’s institution does not have access rights under an agreement with the content provider.|
|Access_Method||A COUNTER attribute indicating whether the usage related to investigations and requests was generated by a human user browsing and searching a website (“Regular”) or by Text and Data Mining processes (“TDM”)||Regular, TDM|
|Access_Type||A COUNTER attribute used to report on the nature of access control restrictions, if any, placed on the content item at the time when the content item was accessed.||Controlled, OA_Gold_APC, OA_Gold_Non_APC, OA_Delayed, Other_Free_to_Read|
|Aggregated full content database||A database that contains full-text articles and possibly non-textual content (beyond bibliographic information) and that is sold as a self-contained/pre-set grouping of data.||Academic Search Complete|
|Aggregated full content database host||A content host that provides access to aggregated full content databases.||EBSCOhost, ProQuest|
|Aggregator||A type of content provider that hosts content from multiple publishers, delivers content direct to customers, and is paid for this service by customers.||EBSCOhost, Gale, Lexis Nexis,
|Article||An item of original written work published in a journal, other serial publication, or in a book. An article is complete, but usually cites other relevant published works in its list of references, if it has one.
A COUNTER Data_Type
|Article header||See Metadata|
|Article_Version||Defined by ALPSP and NISO, a classification of the version of an “Article” as it goes through its publication life-cycle.
An element on a COUNTER “Expanded Item” report that identifies the version of the “Article” being accessed.
Typically COUNTER usage reporting only reflects usage of the following article versions (of the 7 versions defined by the ALPSP/NISO JAV Technical Working Group): Accepted Manuscript (AM); Version of Record (VoR); Corrected Version of Record (CVoR); Enhanced Version of Record (EVoR)
|AM, VoR, CVoR, EVoR|
|Articles in press||Full-text articles that have been accepted for publication in a journal and have been made available online to customers and that will be assigned a publication date of the current year or a future year|
|Author(s)||The person/people who wrote/created the items whose usage is being reported|
|Automated search||A search from a discovery layer or similar technology where multiple “Databases” are searched simultaneously with a single query from the user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting which “Databases” are being searched. Usage of this nature is reported as “Searches_Automated”.
A “Search” run repeatedly (i.e. daily or weekly) by a script or automated process. Usage of this nature must not be included in COUNTER reports.
|Automated search agent||A script or automated process that runs a search repeatedly, usually at pre-set intervals such as daily or weekly|
|AV play event||A client-side play event representing the start of data processing made by a valid browser, which is not recorded concurrently with an event of the same type (JICWEBS). AV play events would be reported using the “requests” category of metric types.|
|AV request||See AV play event|
|Backfile||See Archive||Oxford Journals Archive|
|Book||A non-serial publication of any length available in print (in hard or soft covers or in loose-leaf format) or in electronic format
A COUNTER Data_Type
|Book section||See Section_Type|
|“Book Segment”||See Section_Type|
|Bulk download||A single event where multiple content items are downloaded to the user’s computer|
|Cache||Automated system that collects items from remote servers to serve closer and more efficiently to a given population of users. Often populated by robots or modern browsers.
Note: Publishers take steps to prevent local caching of their content, i.e. including appropriate headers on their site to restrict caching.
|Chapter||A subdivision of a book or of some categories of reference work, usually numbered and titled
A COUNTER Section_Type
|Collection||A subset of the content of a service. A collection is a branded group of online information products from one or more vendors that can be subscribed to/licensed and searched as a complete group.
For the COUNTER reporting is restricted to pre-set collections that are defined like databases. See Database.
Note: A package or bundle provided by a publisher is not considered a database or a collection.
|Component||A uniquely identifiable constituent part of a content item composed of more than one file (digital object)
|Consortium||A group of institutions joining together to license content||Ohiolink|
|Consortium member||An institution that has obtained access to online information resources as part of a consortium
A consortium member is defined by a subset of the consortium’s range of IP addresses or by other specific authentication details.
|Ohio State University|
|Content host||A website that provides access to content typically accessed by patrons of libraries and other research institutions|
|Content item||A generic term describing a unit of content accessed by a user of a content host. Typical content items include articles, books, chapters, multimedia, etc.|
|Content provider||An organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, host, distribute, and trade information in electronic form||Any publisher, the Metropolitan Museum, Magnum, JSTOR|
|Controlled||An access type. At the time of the transaction, the content item was not open (i.e. behind a paywall) because access is restricted to authorized users. Access of content due to a trial subscription would be considered “Controlled” not “Other_Free_to_Read”.|
|COUNTER compliance pending||Status of a vendor who is currently not compliant but whose audit is in progress or scheduled|
|Customer||An individual or organization that can access a specified range of the “Content provider’s” services and/or content and is subject to terms and conditions agreed with the “Content provider”|
|Customer_ID||The field in the COUNTER reports that indicates whose usage is being reported. May be a proprietary or standard value such as ISNI.||ISNI=000000012150090X|
|Customer-authenticated user||User authentication is provided by a referring service that has an agreement with the online resource that allows the referring services own users access to the online resource||Referring URL, Athens|
|Data Repository||A content host that provides access to research data||Figshare|
|Data Types, Data_Type||The field identifying type of content. COUNTER recognizes the following Data_Types:
|Database||A collection of electronically stored data or unit records (facts, bibliographic data, texts) with a common user interface and software for the retrieval and manipulation of data (NISO)
A COUNTER Data_Type used when reporting search activity at the database level
|Social Science Abstracts, Reaxys|
|Database Master Report||Reports that contain additional filters and breakdowns beyond those included in the standard COUNTER reports and are aggregated to the database level|
|Delayed open access||See OA_Delayed|
|Discovery service||An online information host that provides that capability for the users to search a wide variety of content from a single search interface. Access to content is facilitated through direct access to content hosted on the site as well as through a variety of linking technologies to access content at other content sites.||EDS,Primo,Summon
|Discovery services provider||An organization that hosts a discovery service||EBSCOhost (EDS), ProQuest (Primo/Summon)|
|DOI (digital object identifier)||The digital object identifier is a means of identifying a piece of intellectual property (a creation) on a digital network, irrespective of its current location (www.doi.org)
DOIs may be assigned at the title, article/chapter, or component level
|Double-click||A repeated click on the same link by the same user within a period of 30 seconds
COUNTER requires that double-clicks must be counted as a single click.
|eBook host||A content host that provides access to eBook and reference work content||EBL, EBSCOhost, ScienceDirect|
|eBook, E-Book||Monographic content that is published online|
|eJournal||Serial content that is published online|
|eJournal host||A content host that provides access to online serial publications (journals, conferences, newspapers, etc.)||ScienceDirect|
|Embargo period||The period of time before an article is moved out from behind the paywall, i.e. from “Controlled” to “OA_Delayed”|
|Error_No||A unique numeric code included as part of a COUNTER SUSHI exception that identifies the type of error that applies to a report|
|Exceptions||An optional element that may be included with a COUNTER report indicating of some difference between the usage that was requested and the usage that is being presented in the report. An exception includes the following elements: “Error_No”
“Exception_Description” and data.
|3040: Partial Data Returned (request was for 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31, but usage is only available to 2016-08-30).|
|Federated search||A federated search application that allows users to simultaneously search multiple databases hosted by the same or different vendors with a single query from a single user interface. The end user is not responsible for selecting the database being searched.||MetaLib, EBSCOhost Connection|
|Filters||A limit or restrictions placed on the usage to be included in a COUNTER report usually expressed as a name-value pair, e.g. Access_Type=Controlled||“Metric_Type”,
|Full-content aggregation||See Full-text database|
|Full-text database||A database that consists of full-text articles or other non-textual content beyond bibliographic information and that is sold as a self-contained/pre-set grouping of data|
|Full-text article||The complete text—including all references, figures, and tables—of an article, plus links to any supplementary material published with it|
|Gaming||When a user generates multiple requests to a content item with the purpose to increase its usage numbers|
|Gold Open Access||See OA_Gold|
|Host||See Content host||Ingenta, Semantico, SpringerLink|
|Host Site||See Content host|
|Host types||A categorization of Content Hosts used by COUNTER to facilitate implementation of the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice identifies the Host types that apply to the various artefacts in the Code of Practice allowing a Content Host to quickly identify the areas of the Code of Practice to implement by identifying the Host Types categories that apply to them.||·
|Host UI, host-site UI||User interface that an end user would use to access content on the Content host|
|Hybrid publication||A publication that is available via a subscription license but also contains articles available as Gold Open Access|
|Institution||The organization for which usage is being reported|
|Institution_ID||A unique identifier for an institution. In COUNTER reports the Institution_ID is presented as a combination of the identifier type and its value. Proprietary identifiers that identify the content platform can be used.||isni=000000012150090X
|Institution_Name||The field in the COUNTER reports that indicates the name of the institution|
|Institutional identifier||See Institution_ID|
|Intermediary||See Content provider|
|Internet robot, crawler, spider||Any automated program or script that visits websites and systematically retrieves information from them, often to provide indexes for search engines|
|Investigation||A category of COUNTER metric types that represent a user accessing information related to a content item (i.e. an abstract or detailed descriptive metadata of an article) or a content item itself (i.e. full text of an article)|
|IP address||Internet protocol (IP) address of the computer on which the session is conducted. May be used by content providers as a means of authentication and authorization and for identifying the institution a user is affiliated with.
The identifying network address (typically four 8-bit numbers: aaa.bbb.cc.dd) of the user’s computer or proxy
|ISBN (International Standard Book Number)||TA unique 13-digit number used to identify a book|
|ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier)||A unique number used to identify authors, contributors, and distributors of creative works, including researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, etc.
COUNTER defines ISNI as an optional identifier for an institution.
|“ISSN” (“International Standard Serial Number”)||A unique 8-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication. A periodical published in both print and electronic form may have two ISSNs, a print ISSN and an electronic ISSN..|
|Issue||A collection of journal articles that share a specific issue number and are presented as an identifiable unit online and/or as a physically bound and covered set of numbered pages in print|
|Issue date||The date of release by the publisher to customers of a journal issue
When used for COUNTER YOP (year of publication) reporting, the issue date of the print should be used when print and online issue dates differ.
|Item||Collective term for content that is reported at a high level of granularity, e.g. a full-text article (original or a review of other published work), an abstract or digest of a full-text article, a sectional HTML page, supplementary material associated with a full-text article (e.g. a supplementary data set), or non-textual resources such as an image, a video, audio, a dataset, a piece of code, or a chemical structure or reaction||Full text article, TOC, Abstract, Database record, Dataset, Thesis
|Item Master Report||Reports that contain additional filters and breakdowns beyond those included in the standard COUNTER reports and are reported at the content item level, such as individual articles, books, and chapters|
|Item Reports||A series of COUNTER reports that provide usage data at the item or item-component level|
|Item_Component||A series of elements in a COUNTER Item Report that describe a uniquely identifiable constituent part(s) of a content item composed of more than one digital file|
|Journal||A serial that is a branded and continually growing collection of original articles within a particular discipline
A COUNTER data type
|Journal DOI||See DOI|
|Journal Reports||See Title Reports|
|License||A contract or agreement that provides an organization or individual (licensee) with the right to access certain content|
|Limit_Exceeded||A COUNTER Metric_Type. User is denied access to a content item because the simultaneous user limit for their institution’s license would be exceeded|
|Log file analysis||A method of collecting usage data in which the web server records all of its transactions|
|Master Reports||Reports that contain additional filters and breakdowns beyond those included in the standard COUNTER reports|
|Metadata||A series of textual elements that describes a content item but does not include the item itself. For example, metadata for a journal article would typically include publisher, journal title, volume, issue, page numbers, copyright information, a list of names and affiliations of the authors, author organization addresses, the article title and an abstract of the article, and keywords or other subject classifications|
|Metadata provider||An organization, such as a publisher, that provides descriptive article/item-level metadata to an online search service|
|Metric Types, Metric_Types||An attribute of COUNTER usage that identifies the nature of the usage activity||Total_Requests
|Monograph Text||see Book|
|Multimedia||Non-textual media such as images, audio, and video|
|Multimedia collection||A grouping of multimedia items that are hosted and searched as a single unit and behave like a database
See also Database.
|Multimedia full-content unit||A content item that consists of audio/audio-visual material rather than text||Audio, image, video|
|Multimedia host||A content host that provides access to multimedia content|
|Multimedia item||An item of non-textual media content such as an image or streaming or downloadable audio or video files. (Does not include thumbnails or descriptive text/metadata.)|
|No_License||A COUNTER Metric_Type. User is denied access to a content item because the user or the user’s institution does not have access rights under an agreement with the vendor.|
|OA_Delayed||A COUNTER Access_Type
At the time of the transaction, the content item was available as open access because publisher’s embargo period is expired (delayed open access).
|OA_Gold||A COUNTER Access_Type. At the time of the transaction, the content item was immediately and permanently available as open access because an APC (article processing charge) has been paid. Content items may be in hybrid publication or fully open access publication.
Note that content items offered as delayed open access (open after an embargo period) would be classified as OA_Delayed.
|Online_ISSN||A COUNTER Identifier_Type for the ISSN assigned to the online manifestation of a serial work
See also ISSN
|Open access||“Open Access” (“OA”) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g. access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions). Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, and monographs. [wikipedia]|
|“ORCID”||An international standard identifier for individuals (i.e. authors) to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities
A COUNTER Identifier_Type for item contributors
|Other_Free_to_Read||A COUNTER Access_Type. At the time of the transaction, the content item was freely available for reading for reasons such as promotions. This also covers all journals where all articles are free to all users because the journal is funded through advertising.|
|Parent||In COUNTER Item Reports the parent is the publication an item is part of. For a journal article, the parent is the journal, and for a book chapter|
|Paywall||A term used to describe the fact that a user attempting to access a content item must be authorized by license or must pay a fee before the content can be accessed|
|Platform||An interface from an aggregator, publisher, or other online service that delivers the content to the user and that counts and provides the COUNTER usage reports.||Wiley Online Library, HighWire|
|Platform Master Report||Reports that contain additional filters and breakdowns beyond those included in the standard COUNTER reports and are aggregated to the platform level|
|Platform Reports||A series of COUNTER reports that provide usage aggregated to the platform level|
|Print_ISSN||A COUNTER Identifier_Type for the ISSN assigned to the print manifestation of a work
See also ISSN
|Proprietary Identifier||See Proprietary_ID|
|Proprietary_ID||A COUNTER Identifier_Type for a unique identifier given by publishers and other content providers to a product or collection of products|
|Provider Discovery Reports||A series of COUNTER reports that discovery services provide to content providers so that the provider can see how their content is being used|
|Provider ID||A unique identifier for a content provider and used by discovery services and other content sites to track usage for content items provided by that provider|
|Publication Date, Publication_Date||An optional field in COUNTER item reports and Provider Discovery Reports.
The date of release by the publisher to customers of a content item.
|Publisher||An organization whose function is to commission, create, collect, validate, host, distribute and trade information online and/or in printed form||Sage, Cambridge University Press|
|Publisher_ID||A COUNTER Identifier_Type for a publisher’s unique identifier. In COUNTER reports the publisher ID is presented as a combination of identifier type and value.|
|Reference work||An authoritative source of information about a subject used to find quick answers to questions. The content may be stable or updated over time.||
Dictionary, encyclopedia, directory, manual, guide, atlas, bibliography, index
|References||A list of works referred to in an article or chapter with sufficient detail to enable the identification and location of each work|
|Regular||A COUNTER Access_Method. Indicates that usage was generated by a human user browsing/searching a website, rather than by text and data mining processes.|
|Report abbreviations||A short name or identifier of COUNTER report used by the COUNTER_SUSHI to specify which report to provide||“TR_J1”|
|Report Attribute, Report_Attributes||In COUNTER reports the report attributes modify how a report is presented. Typically a report attribute will not limit or filter the usage being presented.||Exclude_Report_Header;
|Report filter||In COUNTER reports the report filter can be used to limit the usage returned in a report.||Data_Type=journal|
|Report item attributes||A series of elements that describe the nature of usage for an item and may include Access_Type, YOP, etc.|
|Report name||The name of a COUNTER report||Journal Title Report 1|
|Reporting period, Reporting_Period||The total time period covered in a usage report|
|Repository||A host who provides access to an institution’s research output. Includes subject repositories, institution, department, etc.||Cranfield CERES|
|Repository item||A content item hosted in a repository, including that consists of one or more digital objects such as text files, audio, video or data, described by associated metadata.|
|Request||A category of COUNTER Metric Types that represents a user accessing content (i.e. full text of an article)|
|Research data||Data that supports research findings and may include databases, spreadsheets, tables, raw transaction logs, etc.|
|Scholarly Collaboration Network||A service used by researchers to share information about their work.||Mendeley, Reddit/Science|
|Scholarly Collaboration Network data aggregator||A host who provides access to metrics on communications and interactions on scholarly collaboration networks||Altmetric.com|
|Search||A user-driven intellectual query, typically equated to submitting the search form of the online service to the server|
|Searches_Regular||A COUNTER Metric Type used to report on searches conducted by a user on a host where the user is in control over which databases can be searched.
Note: If a search is conducted across multiple databases, each database searched can count that search.
See also Regular Search
|Searches_Automated||A COUNTER Metric Type used to report searches conducted through a discovery service or by an automated search agent
See also Automated Search
|Searches_Federated||A COUNTER Metric Type used to report searches conducted through a federated search service
See also Federated search
|Searches_Platform||A COUNTER Metric Type used to report searches conducted on a platform
Note: Searches conducted against multiple databases on the platform will only be counted once.
|Section||The first level of subdivision of a book or reference work||Chapter, entry|
|Section Types, Section_Type||A COUNTER attribute that identifies the type of section that was accessed by the user||Article,book,chapter|
|Serial||A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. This definition includes periodicals, newspapers, and annuals (reports, yearbooks, monographic series (NISO)|
|Service||See Content host||ScienceDirect, Academic Universe|
|Session||A successful request of an online service. A single user connects to the service or database and ends by terminating activity that is either explicit (by leaving the service through exit or logout) or implicit (timeout due to user inactivity). (NISO)|
|Session cookie||A data file that a web server can place on a browser to track activity by a user and attribute that usage to a session|
|Session ID||A unique identifier for a single user session or, in case of a double-click, multiple clicks on the same link within 30 seconds of each other|
|SUSHI||An international standard (Z39-93) that describes a method for automating the harvesting of reports. COUNTER_SUSHI is an implementation of this standard for harvesting COUNTER reports.
COUNTER compliance requires content hosts to implement COUNTER_SUSHI.
|TDM||Text and data mining (TDM) is a computational process whereby text or datasets are crawled by software that recognizes entities, relationships, and actions. (STM Publishers)
An Access_Method in a COUNTER report used to separate regular usage from usage that represents access to content for the purposes of text and data mining.
|Text and data mining||See TDM|
|Title||The name of a book, journal, or reference work|
|Title Master Report||Reports that contain additional filters and breakdowns beyond those included in the standard COUNTER reports and are aggregated to publication title level rather than towards individual articles/chapters|
|Title Reports||A series of COUNTER reports where usage is aggregated to the publication title level|
|Total_Item_Requests||A COUNTER Metric_Type that represents the number of times users requested the full content (i.e. full text) of an item.Requests may take the form of viewing, downloading, emailing, or printing content provided such actions can be tracked by the content provider’s server.|
|Total_Items_Investigations||A COUNTER Metric_Type that represents the number of times users accessed the content (i.e. full text) of an item, or information describing that item (i.e. an abstract)|
|Transaction||A usage event|
|Turnaway||See Access denied|
|Unique_Item_Investigations||A COUNTER “Metric Type” that represents the number of unique “Content Items” investigated in a user-session. Examples of “Items” are “Articles”, “Books”, “Chapters”, “Multimedia” files.|
|“Unique_Item_ Requests”||A COUNTER Metric Type that represents the number of unique content items investigated in a user-session. Examples of items are articles, book-chapters, and multimedia files.|
|“Unique_Title_ Investigations”||A COUNTER “Metric Type” that represents the number of unique titles investigated in a user-session. Examples of titles are “Journals” and “Books”.|
|Unique_Item_Requests||A COUNTER “Metric Type” that represents the number of unique content items requested in a user-session. Examples of items are articles, book-chapters, multimedia files.|
|URI||In information technology, a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters used to identify a resource. Such identification enables interaction with representations of the resource over a network, typically the World Wide Web, using specific protocols. [Wikipedia]
An optional element on a COUNTER report used to identify the item for which usage is being reported.
|Usage attributes||Fields or elements used to classify or qualify COUNTER usage for analysis||Access_Type
|User||A person who accesses the online resource|
|User agent||An identifier that is part of the HTTP/S protocol that identifies the software (i.e. browser) being used to access the site. May be used by robots to identify themselves.|
|User session||See Session|
|Username” and “Password||No definition required|
|Vendor||A publisher or other online information provider who delivers licensed content to the customer and with whom the customer has a contractual relationship||Taylor & Francis, EBSCO|
|Year of Publication||See YOP|
|YOP||Calendar year in which an article, item, issue, or volume is published.
For the COUNTER_YOP attribute, use the year of publication for the print when it differs from the online.
|Z39.50||An international standard protocol created by NISO for search. A Z39.50 client can search any Z39.50-compatible online service. Often used by federated search services to facilitate searching content at other sites.|
Usage data can be generated in a number of ways, and COUNTER does not prescribe which approach should be taken. The two most common approaches are:
Other options are to leverage Distributed Usage Logging (DUL) to capture content activity that happens on other web sites. Each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages, summarised below.
The main advantages of log file analysis overare:
The web server reliably records everyit makes, including items such as serving documents and content generated by scripts, and does not rely on the visitor’s browser.
The main advantages ofover log file analysis are:
Distributed Usage Logging (DUL) is an initiative sponsored by CrossRef that provides a framework for publishers to capture usage of-identified content items that occurs on other web sites, such as aggregators, repositories, and scholarly information-sharing sites. The premise behind DUL is that publishers can register a DUL usage logging end-point with CrossRef, which is then mapped to all of the ’s DOIs. A content site, such as a , can use a content ’s to look up where the wants a to be logged, then use the standard DUL message structure to log the activity. Using DUL allows a to capture a more complete picture of content usage. The following points cover how DUL may be used with COUNTER statistical reporting: