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Conference proceedings – what librarians have told us

It can be challenging for librarians to identify Conference Proceedings in COUNTER Reports. This is because we report usage of conference proceedings in Title Master Reports.

Most conference proceedings are published serially with an ISSN, in which case they have the Data_Type ‘Journal.’  However, sometimes Conference Proceedings are published as a one-off with an ISBN, in which case they have the Data_Type ‘Book.’

Some publishers obtain both ISSNs and ISBNs for their proceedings, in which case the current COUNTER practice is to let the publisher/provider decide which data type to use.

Those with the Data_Type ‘Journal’ appear in the TR_JI, TR_J2, TR_J3 and TR_J4 Standard Views.

Those with the Data_Type ‘Book’ appear in the TR_BI, TR_B2, TR_B3 Standard Views.

This is confusing, but COUNTER does not want to add to complexity by introducing new data types or reports, which librarians would not use or find helpful. Therefore, we are consulting with the COUNTER community about their preferences about this.

Survey of librarians

We began by consulting librarians through an online survey. Our survey was open between May 26 and June 28   42 librarians responded to our survey about Conference Proceedings.

  • 48% indicated a preference for all proceedings to be treated as data type journals. This would be regardless of whether they have an ISBN and/or ISSN.  This would mean the usage data in the TR_J1, TR_J2, TR_J3 and TR_J4 Standard Views.
  • 78% indicated that they would welcome a I would like COUNTER to require all publishers to use the same data type for conference proceedings regardless of their use of ISSN and/or ISBN.
  • 73% indicated they would like to be able to filter COUNTER Master Reports, so that I can identify conference proceedings.
  • 52% indicated they would like to see a separate Standard View report for conference proceedings.

Two of the comments we receive were:

“As a librarian working with practicing engineers, I must say that our community puts a priority on conference papers > peer-reviewed journals > books. This is primarily due to the urgency to get to the most recent content. Any report on conference paper usage, in a *consistent* manner across publishers would be immensely helpful.”

“I am so glad you are taking up this issue. We have issues with what looks like low usage for some collections because the conference proceedings are not included in journal reports. If it is an easier/cleaner option, I would be fine with a separate counter-compliant proceedings report.”

Next steps

We will ask publishers if they would like to see a change. If they do, we will ask about their preferences for reporting usage of Conference Proceedings .

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