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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 auditors, ABC ELECTRONIC or BPA Worldwide.
COUNTER has negotiated a special price for COUNTER members with 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.
BPA Worldwide is in the business of providing assurance. For 80+ years as a not-for-profit assurance service provider, BPA was originally created by advertisers, advertising agencies and the media industry to audit audience claims used in the buying and selling of advertising. Today, in addition to auditing audience claims, through its iCompli service, BPA verifies compliance to defined government, industry, and organizational standards as well as adherence to privacy, data protection and sustainability guidelines and best practices. Performing nearly 3,800 audits in over 20 countries.
Prior to auditing a vendor the COUNTER-approved auditor will contact the vendor to discuss the prescribed COUNTER auditing requirements and tests, with a particular focus on the following:
Once the timetable for the audit has been agreed, the Auditor will:
During the audit
After the audit: