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Release 5 questions and answers

We are delighted to be talking to so many of you about Release 5. Some of the questions we have received from publishers and our answers are below:

Freely available abstracts
 A database publisher makes some abstracts are freely available on Google, to promote usage because authorised users don’t necessarily find them when they search through their library systems. There is concern, in this context, about the attribute Access_Type. This describes the nature of access control that was in place when the content item was accessed. Would this be a complication for freely available abstracts?

Answer: Even through the abstracts are openly available via Google, the content would be contented as controlled, because further access would only be available to users covered by the library’s licence to the content. Also, the “Access_Type” attribute reflects the state of access control to the content and not the metadata.


Free to read for some people
Some content is not made freely available to everyone, for example, free access is given to some authors.  What attribute would apply?

Answer: This would count as controlled.


Back filling metadata for access types
There is concern about Access_Type where the associated metadata for back articles does not record it, do we need to back fill?

Answer: Back filling of metadata about access types is not required, only going forward.


Concerns about devaluing HTML
There is concern that the new metrics may devalue use of HTML and publishers are interested to understand the reason behind the new metrics in the draft Release 5.

Answer: The challenge in Release 4 is that that PDF and HTML only identified two of many formats, therefore a format agnostic metric is proposed for Release 5. There is also evidence that some librarians disregard HTML usage entirely because of concerns about double counting. The metric type unique_item_requests eliminates double counting when HTML and PDF accessed in the same session.  Because of the concern of double-counting when HTML is displayed automatically as users navigate to the PDF, with COUNTER R4 some librarians are only using the PDF usage which resulted in completely devaluing the HTML usage (i.e. in such a scenario, if the user’s information needs were satisfied by the HTML the transaction would not be counted. COUNTER R5 strives to address this through the unique_item_requested metric.

 However, publishers and vendors who wish to report HTML separately can “extend” the Release 5 Code of Practice to include these metrics in the Expanded Title Report.

If the Release 5 Code of Practice is introduced in 2019, say, does that mean that Release 4 is stopped abruptly? Or do the reporting formats exist alongside each other for a while, if so, how long?

Answer: This question is addressed in the FAQs that accompany the CoP.  The requirement is that, to help facilitate libraries’ smooth transition to R5, R4 reports must continue to be provided for a minimum of 12 months after the effective date for R5.

Book Reports
How will we report download figures for books?

Answer: There are three proposed reports for books:
Book Title Report 1         Usage by Month and Book Title
Book Title Report 2         Access Denied by Month and Book
Expanded Title Report    Activity by Month and Title

Section 4.3.1. of the Draft code of practice provides the detail of which metric types are included and Appendix B discusses the changes from R4 and highlights how the new metric types translate from the R4 reports.  For example, unique_title_requests is the equivalent of what was counted in R4’s Book Report 7 and provides consistent reporting that was not possible with some content providers offering BR1 and others offering BR2.  Total_item_requests is the equivalent of what is counted in R4’s BR2.


Consultation period
Attendees asked why the consultation ends in April, and can it be extended?

Answer: The official end-date for the first phase of feedback is 12 April. We will then use the feedback to inform the final drafting of Release 5 Code of Practice for final publication in early July. This timetable is to ensure that publishers and vendors have 18 months for implementation, prior to the effective date in January 2019. However, we will continue to take feedback during the period from April to June as we continue to review and revise the Code of Practice.


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