COUNTER - Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources

News and Activities

Last updated: May 2016

COUNTER Usage Factors for Journals

The Code of Practice for Usage Factors (UF) is a useful tool openly available for use by any publisher who wishes to implement it. The implementation of the Usage Factor could benefit publishers, especially those with large numbers of journals outside of the core STM research areas, where there is no reliable, universal measure of journal impact, because citation-based measures are either inadequate or non-existent for these fields.


    1. COUNTER is committed to improving the standard known as the COUNTER Code of Practice for counting the use of electronic resources. It is also committed to assisting publishers and vendors’ compliance with the Code of Practice.
    2. SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol) is the NSI/NISO Standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.93-2014) which defines automated request and response model for harvesting e-resource usage data. It replaces the time-consuming user-mediated collection of usage data reports, saving producers requirement.
    3. Funding from the EBSCO Foundation is enabling the development of a COUNTER Report Validation Tool. This site will save the producers of COUNTER usage reports time and duplicated effort and ensure improved compliance with the COUNTER Code of Practice.
    4. Scope of this call for proposals
    5. This call seeks proposals for the development of the COUNTER Report Validation Tool, as detailed in the requirements document. Bidders will also find the NISO SUSHI Protocol helpful background.
    6. COUNTER will work with the successful contractor in creating final user stories and detailed specifications, and expects an agile approach with frequent interaction with the team and is expecting a collaborative approach
    7. Evaluation Criteria
    8. COUNTER will evaluate proposals against the following criteria:
      • a. Quality of proposal and robustness of work plan: The extent to which the proposal addresses the issues and demands outlined in the call, and shows innovation as appropriate. The quality of the proposal will be assessed on deliverables identified and the evidence provided of how these will be achieved including an assessment of the risks. (30%)
      • b. Impact: The extent to which the project outcomes will be of overall value to the knowledge community and included in the assessment under this criterion will be the need for sustainability of the COUNTER Report Validation Tool at the end of the project. This is to ensure that COUNTER can effectively sustain the COUNTER Report Validation Tool beyond the development period. (30%)
      • c. Value for money: The value of the expected project outcomes and the demonstrated understanding of the deliverables within the funding available. (15%)
      • d. Previous experience of the project team: Evidence of the project team's understanding of the technical and management issues involved, and of its ability to manage and deliver a successful COUNTER Report Validation Tool, for example through work done in similar fields. (15%)

      Structure of Proposals
      • a. Cover Sheet – all proposals must include a completed cover sheet with company/organisation name, full address and contact details.
      • b. Project Description – a description of the intended project plan, timetable and deliverables, risks, and an explanation of how the detailed project outcomes will be of meet the objectives set out in Annex A below. Bidders should also include statements regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and sustainability issues.
      • c. Budget – a summary of the proposed budget, which in broad outline identifies how funds will be spent over the life of the project. The budget should not exceed £20,000 and must include all costs, including VAT if applicable.
      • d. Key Personnel – names and brief career details of staff expected to contribute to the project, including qualifications and experience in the area of work proposed and evidence of any projects of similar nature successfully completed.
      • e.Referees – details of two referees for whom similar work has been undertaken.

      Note: Proposals should not exceed ten single-sides of A4 pages and should be presented in no smaller than 10-point type size. All key information as outlined in the structure of proposals section MUST be included within the ten-page limit unless otherwise.

      Terms and Conditions of Grant
    9. COUNTER will oversee and monitor the progress of projects.
    10. Payment will be in equal staged payments on sign-off of key milestones and deliverables.
    11. COUNTER seeks to retain IPR in the project deliverables created as a result of this funding in order to maintain flexibility of future provision and availability of the service.
    12. Bidding Process
    13. The deadline for submissions is 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday 27 May 2016. Late proposals will NOT be accepted.
    14. An electronic copy of the proposal should be sent in PDF format by this deadline to This is an electronic-only submission process; therefore all documentation (including letters of support) must be submitted in PDF format, as a single file or in a zipped folder. Do not add security settings for PDFs or files.
    15. A selection panel comprising of COUNTER’s Executive Committee and Technical Advisory Committee will evaluate the proposal against the criterion detailed in paragraph 5.
    16. COUNTER will endeavour to notify successful bidders by late June 2016. Projects should commence in July 2016.
    17. COUNTER reserves the right not to commission the work or the full amount of funding outlined in this call, and to issue a subsequent call to address any remaining work.

Friendly guides to COUNTER

In response to our survey last year, librarians told us it would be helpful to have guides to explain how COUNTER reports work. We are delighted that Mitchell Dunkley, a Principal Information Assistant for De Montfort University (DMU) Library & Learning Services, has written three guides for libraries:

Publishers and vendors also told us it would be helpful to have guides to explain how to implement COUNTER reports and prepare for COUNTER audit. We are delighted that Tasha Mellins-Cohen, the Head of Platform at Semantico, has prepared two guides for publishers and vendors:

We hope that publishers, vendors and librarians find these guides useful and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions for other guides.

Directors' Report to Members 2015

Members are invited to read this report from the Directors' on COUNTER activity in 2015. Directors Report 2015

Lively Lunch at the ER&L Conference: Tuesday, April 5 • 11:45am-1:00pm

COUNTER is inviting librarians to attend this lively lunch to inform the development of Release 5 of the COUNTER Code of Practice and priorities for the organisations.(

We look forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas! Anna Creech is the Head of Resource Acquisition and Delivery at the University of Richmond will be facilitating this session for COUNTER.

UKSG and COUNTER are delighted to offer two free webinars in May:

3 May 2016: COUNTER for Publishers with Stuart Maxwell, Scholarly iQ and Lorraine Estelle, Director of COUNTER

24 May 2016: COUNTER for Librarians with Anna Franca, King’s College London (Lorraine Estelle will also be available during the Q&A)

The webinars will address:

  • What is COUNTER?
  • Why is it important?
  • How to become COUNTER compliant and the COUNTER Code of Practice
  • COUNTER reports for journals, databases and ebooks

Further details and registration will be available in due course on

Alternatively, follow @UKSG and #UKSGwebinar on Twitter.

The webinars are hosted live, to enable audience participation, however, they are also recorded to enable registrants to watch and listen to the recording at a time more suitable to their time zone or schedule.

What can you expect as a participant?

  • Up-to-date, expert opinion
  • A convenient boost to your CPD
  • Answers to specific questions about your particular situation (there are two opportunities to ask questions – during registration which influences the webinar’s content and during the Q&A)
  • The in-put of other participants representing different sectors of the international knowledge community
  • A link to a recording of the webinar
  • Access to the slides (with the agreement of the speaker(s)) and, often, a Q&A document

We hope you will join us in May for a comprehensive insight into COUNTER and the Code of Practice.

Feedback from February’s webinar: “The best webinar I've attended! Clear audio and video and concise and informative content. Plenty of time for questions.” – Liz Hartley, Lancaster University

COUNTER AGM: Save the date

We hope those COUNTER who will be attending the UKSG Annual Conference and Exhibition in Bournemouth this year will take the opportunity to attend our AGM on April 11 at 5pm. You will receive a short report on COUNTER activities in 2015 and about our plans for 2016.

You will then have the chance to hear leading LIS researcher (Carol Tenopir) describe the fascinating findings of the Beyond Downloads project. If you have ever wondered how scholars save and share articles, this is the opportunity to find out. We will send you the agenda and papers nearer the time, but we invite you to save the date and look forward to seeing you in Bournemouth.

The AGM is generously sponsored by Elsevier’s Library Connect program

COUNTER has announced that Oliver Pesch has been appointed as the new Chair of the board of directors.

Oliver succeeds Kathy Perry, who is retiring after giving sterling service to COUNTER and its member community.

Oliver brings a wealth of experience to the role; he has served as Chief Strategist for EBSCO’s e-resource access and management services since 2004, and has long been one of EBSCO’s leading technical experts. Currently, he serves as co-chair of NISO’s SUSHI Standing Committee and the Executive Committee for Project COUNTER as well being a member of several standards committees.

Oliver says. “I am delighted to be appointed Chair of the COUNTER board of directors, particularly at this time as it works on the next release of the Code of Practice and continues its work on building freely available tools that serve library andpublishing community.”

About COUNTER: COUNTER is the not-for-profit membership organisation that sets and maintains the Code of Practice for counting the use of electronic resources. COUNTER also supports (Usus) the independent community-run website for those interested in the usage of online content.

COUNTER Result Clicks and Record Views – a useful scenario

Many of you have had some difficulty in using the Result Clicks and Record Views in the database reports. Eric Howard, Information Services Librarian at Leeds Beckett University has created and shared with us this Usage scenario. We are sure many of you will find this a useful tool to fully understand result clicks and record views.

Oliver Pesch writing about Usus in The Serials Librarian: From the Printed Page to the Digital Age

In 2014, Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) sponsored the development of Usus, an independent website, to provide a valuable resource for the community of librarians, publishers, vendors, and others with an interest in usage of online resources. Usus (Latin for usage) is run by librarians and provides a forum to discuss issues related to usage, seek answers to questions about usage, and to provide suggestions and input on future COUNTER and Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative initiatives. This column offers a tour of Usus, providing a glimpse of what it offers, including a detailed examination of some of the tools it makes available.

DOI: 10.1080/0361526X.2015.1116334

Published online: 18 Dec 2015

Text and data mining

Usage associated with text and data mining (TDM) activity should not be reported in JR1, JR1GOA, DB1, BR7, etc. COUNTER does not record TDM itself as most of this activity takes place after an article has been downloaded. All we can do is track the count of articles downloaded for the purposes of text mining. However, the following new optional reports have been prepared to cover TDM activity:

  • Text and Data Mining Journal Report 1 (TDMJR1)
  • Text and Data Mining Report Database Report 1 (TDMDB1)
  • Text and Data Mining Book Report 7 (R4)
  • Text and Data Mining Multimedia Report 1 (TDMMR1)

Interview with Lorraine Estelle, Director of COUNTER

Lorraine was interviewed by Insights: the UKSG Journal. She talks about the future direction of COUNTER and priorities for next year.

Read the full article

Data that Counts!

Jo Lambert, project manager of Journals Usage Statistics Portal and IRUS UK and Lorraine Estelle, Director of COUNTER gave that attached presentation at the Charleston Conference in November 2015. They explained how national services can be built on COUNTER Usage data and how these services in turn build communities of best practice. Data That Counts CHARLESTON2015

COUNTER Quick Guide to Result Clicks and Record Views

Many of you have contacted us to say that you are confused about Result Clicks and Record Views. These are the are new usage metrics for databases and platforms that replace outdated Sessions and often-ambiguous Searches metric types. These new metrics record user actions not machine actions and thus are a much better gauge of the value of a database to your users. For more information please read our Quick Guide

COUNTER Library Online Survey Results

Thanks to so many of you who completed our library survey. We received responses from libraries in over 30 countries, which was hugely helpful. Your feedback will inform our work and our priorities over the coming year. Click here to see the full results

What are your favourite COUNTER reports, other than JR1

A librarian recently asked this question of colleagues on an email list. She went on to say: “I have a hard time understanding what people do with the BR3, BR4, BR5, DB3, JR1a, JR1GOA, and PR1, etc.”. She went on to ask for specific examples of how these reports inform decision making in other libraries and received the following responses:


“I'm excited about the JR5 because I can finally answer the questions my liaisons have about whether the use is coming from current issues or older ones (not in the archive, but not current year).”


“We find the BR3 report really useful. We run this every month for our major e-book aggregators. It shows that there is demand for limited-user titles, so we can make quick decisions about whether to upgrade to a multi-user licence or buy another copy.”

JR2, DR2 and BR4

“I like turnaways where I can get them. I’ve used them to answer a query about whether or not having a limit on concurrent use for a particular resource has had an impact (i.e. were lots of people trying to access the database in question but were prevented from doing so because our contractual arrangement – turns out this wasn’t the case) and whether or not certain content was trying to be accessed that fell outside our subscription, particularly backfiles.”


“We take out any archive/open access usage when looking at cost per use by subtracting JR1a and JR1 GOA from the JR1 figure.”

Please share your best practice with us COUNTER would like to help share more examples of how COUNTER usage reports help to inform decision-making. Please send your examples


COUNTER Community Consultation

We aim to improve the usage statistics utility of the COUNTER Code of Practice and ensure that libraries and consortia receive usage statistics in the format that they need. We also aim to ensure that publishers and vendors can efficiently and cost effectively implement our Code of Practice.

Online surveys are now available so that vendors, publishers, libraries and consortia can tell us their views.

The survey will take around half an hour to complete.

We realise that we are asking our stakeholders for some considerable input, but the information provided will enable us to improve the usefulness of COUNTER usage statistics.

Please help us by completing the surveys:

COUNTER Online Survey for Vendors and Publishers

COUNTER Online Survey for Libraries and Consortia

Implementing SUSHI and COUNTER: A Primer for Librarians

Edited by Oliver Pesch

Project Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) released its first code of practice in 2002. Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) was introduced in 2007 as a way of automating the harvesting of COUNTER reports. Both initiatives have been well adopted yet there is still confusion about how to implement SUSHI. This column offers a primer for library staff wanting to take advantage of the benefits of SUSHI. It starts with a quick review of both COUNTER and SUSHI, then covers options for SUSHI clients, examines SUSHI configuration requirements, demonstrates how to use SUSHI to obtain a COUNTER report and shows an example of working with a COUNTER Journal Reports in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format to create a spreadsheet with a simple cost-per-use and package analysis. By the end the reader should gain enough knowledge to configure a SUSHI client, successfully harvest COUNTER statistics and to perform some basic analysis on that usage. The full article has been published on Taylor & Francis Online. It is available at:

Relationships between journal use and research output at academic institutions

Youngim Jung’s article on the relationship between journal use and research output at academic institutions in South Korea is now published. The study “confirmed that the association of e-journal use with the two quantitative research indicators is strongly positive…” Read the article full article:

Jung Y. et al (2015) Statistical relationships between journal use and research output at academic institutions in South Korea, Scientometrics June 2015, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 751-777. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-015-1563-0

Announcing Usus – a community website on usage

Usus (Latin for usage) is a new, independent, community-run website ( for all those interested in the usage of online content. It is designed to support a productive conversation among librarians, publishers, aggregators, and repository managers so that we can all get the best possible usage reports for our electronic resources.

The Usus website provides:

  • A source of hints and tips on solving known problems
  • A list of vendors with problems that are affecting the credibility and/or usefulness of the COUNTER reports
  • A collection point for suggestions for new COUNTER usage reports and metrics

Supervisory Board

The Usus Supervisory Board will ensure that the website is editorially independent and will serve the needs of the community. Chaired by Anne Osterman, Deputy Director of VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia), the members of the Supervisory Board are:

  • Anne Osterman, VIVA, USA (Chair)
  • Simon Bevan, Cranfield University, UK
  • Melissa Blaney, ACS Publications, USA
  • Anna Creech, University of Richmond, USA
  • Jo Lambert, JISC, UK
  • Oliver Pesch, EBSCO, USA
  • Kari Schmidt, Montgomery College, USA
  • Mark Tullos, ProQuest, USA

For more information, please contact Usus at:


ENCOUNTER the second quarterly newsletter is now published: ENCOUNTER Quarterly Newsletter

Forthcoming Events: -

  • Wednesday 11 November 2015, London, ALPSP Seminar 'Setting the Standard'

News Releases

You will need Adobe Acrobat to view some of the news releases.

Research Projects

COUNTER is an active participant in research projects whose objectives are either to improve the quality of online usage statistics or to increase the relevance of usage data in the wider world of scholarly metrics.

Articles and Presentations

Invitation to Institutions in Germany to become COUNTER Members

COUNTER would very much welcome new members from Germany. This letter is an invitation to membership, and highlights the benefits of being a member of COUNTER.

Letter to institutions in Germany

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