COUNTER - Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources

COUNTER Articles

Last updated: October 2015

Introduction to Release 1 of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles

The COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles (COUNTER Articles) has been established to provide a COUNTER-compliant standard for the recording, consolidation and reporting of usage at the individual article level of Journal Articles hosted by Publishers, Aggregators, Institutional Repositories and Subject Repositories.

COUNTER Articles builds on the COUNTER Code of Practice and COUNTER will be responsible for its development, ongoing management and implementation. To have their usage statistics and reports designated compliant vendors and services will have to provide usage statistics that conform to this Code of Practice. Vendors that are already COUNTER-compliant will find it relatively straightforward to conform to the COUNTER Articles standard. In addition to what is already provided for COUNTER, the key additional metadata requirements for COUNTER Articles- compliance will be:

  • The article DOI, which allows usage to be recorded, reported and consolidated unambiguously for each journal article.

COUNTER Articles provides a standard that enables any organization hosting journal articles to report in a credible, consistent and compatible way the usage of these articles to authors, their institutions and their funding organizations. It also enables vendors to consolidate usage of articles on different platforms into a global usage total.


The COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles provides a framework for the recording, exchange and interpretation of online usage statistics for individual full-text journal articles. In doing so, it covers the following areas:

  • Article types to be counted;
  • Article versions to be counted;
  • Data elements to be measured;
  • Definitions of these data elements;
  • Content and format of usage reports;
  • Requirements for data processing;
  • Requirements for auditing;
  • Guidelines to avoid duplicate counting when intermediary gateways and aggregators are used

While this Release focuses on journal articles, its principles may be applied to other categories of individual content items that are well defined, and have sufficiently robust metadata associated with them

Features of COUNTER Articles

The COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles provides the specifications and tools that will allow COUNTER-compliant publishers, repositories and other organizations to record and report usage statistics at the individual article level that are credible, compatible and consistent. COUNTER-compliant publishers may build on the existing COUNTER tools to do so, while an alternative approach is provided for non-COUNTER compliant repositories, which is tailored to their systems and capabilities. This Code of Practice contains the following features:

  • A list of Definitions and other terms that are relevant to recording and reporting usage of individual items
  • A methodology for the recording and reporting of usage at the individual article level, including specifications for the metadata to be recorded, the content types, and the versions whose usage may be counted.
  • Specifications for the COUNTER Article Reports.
  • Data processing rules to ensure that the usage data reported are credible, consistent and compatible
  • Specifications for the independent auditing of the COUNTER Articles reports
  • A description of the role of:
    • A Central Clearing House (CCH) in the calculation and consolidation of usage data for articles.
    • Other Clearing Houses in relation to the CCH.

Reporting usage at the individual article level

Unlike the standard COUNTER usage reports, which vendors must update monthly for all products covered, the COUNTER Articles usage reports do not have to be provided monthly for every article they cover (but should be broken down by month when reported). Rather, the vendor must have the capability to produce the COUNTER Articles reports for all the journal articles they host on an annual basis, as a minimum requirement.

The COUNTER Code of Practice for Articles provides two reports for this purpose:

  • Article Report 2: Number of Successful Full-Text Article Requests by Author, Month and DOI, consolidated from different sources
    • This report enables vendors to report, in a standard way, usage of an individual article, with usage broken down by the three most important hosts, based on usage.
  • Article Report 3: Summary of All Successful Individual Article Requests for an author, by month
    • This report provides a summary of usage of a set of individual articles for a given author

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