COUNTER FAQs

Last updated July 8, 2010

  1. Where do I report problems with COUNTER reports from a content provider?
  2. Does the COUNTER XML include “Total for all Journals”?
  3. Should the COUNTER XML include report totals for each journal, database or platform when multiple months of data are requested?
  4. For Journal Reports; if usage is reported for ft_html and ft_pdf is is also necessary to include ft_total?
  5. If a SUSHI request contains a data range that spans more than one month, should the resulting COUNTER report include just the summary totals by journal?
  6. If a SUSHI request contains a data range that does not cover a complete month or spans partial months (e.g., 2008-01-15 to 2008-02-15) , what should the COUNTER report include?
  7. Should the PubYr attribute on the ItemPerformance element be included for all reports?
  8. Can a single COUNTER report include usage for multiple platforms?
  9. What does a content provider have to do to become COUNTER compliant?

 

  1. Where do I report problems with COUNTER reports from a content provider?
    In the event that you encounter a COUNTER report that does not appear to be compliant with the current COUNTER Code of Practice, COUNTER wants to know about it if direct discussions with the content provider do not resolve the situation. Report such issues to Peter Shepherd at: pshepherd@projectCounter.org and include the following information:

    • A copy of the report/file in question
    • The name of the content provider
    • The name of the customer (including customer code if available) whose usage the report represents
    • A description of the problem or concern

    COUNTER will take the matter up with the content provider concerned and will also use this input to enhance future versions of the Code of Practice and to improve the audit process.
     
  2. Does the COUNTER XML include “Total for all Journals”?
    No.  COUNTER XML reports are designed for machine-to-machine transfer of usage data and they are not intended for direct human viewing. The library (or other recipient) will use a software program of some kind (e.g. a usage consolidation module of an ERM) to display or otherwise process the data; therefore, the expectation is that software will total the data as necessary.

    Note: inclusion of a “Totals” node in the XML adds complexity to the client-side software processing the COUNTER XML in that it needs to be programmed to recognize and ignore the “totals” node. In short, the Totals node is not used and it just makes both client and server more complicated to develop.
     
  3. Should the COUNTER XML include report totals for each journal, database or platform when multiple months of data are requested?
    No. COUNTER XML reports are designed for machine-to-machine transfer of usage data and are not intended for human viewing. For example, when multiple months of data are requested for Journal Report 1, the COUNTER XML should include usage for each month for each journal; however, it should not include totals for all months for each journal. Inclusion of totals and subtotals for the range of months is both unnecessary and undesirable.  Unnecessary because the software into which the use is loaded will handle any needed summarization. Undesirable because is makes the client and server software more complex.

    The COUNTER Codes of Practice do not require the XML to contain all the elements of the Excel versions of the reports. The XML is intended to transfer the raw usage information. The Excel versions are intended for human viewing and thus include totals and sub-totals not necessary in the XML.
     
  4. For Journal Reports; if usage is reported for ft_html and ft_pdf is is also necessary to include ft_total?
    Yes. PDF and HTML are merely two possible formats that full text may be available in at a content provider site (others include XML, Postscript, etc.)  The ft_html and ft_pdf counts were added to the Journal Reports in an effort to provide some insight into the “interface effect” of a particular user interface (if the html count is high, this could be indicative of a user having to view the html before requesting the pdf.)  Because these metrics were designed to be merely indicative of the influence of the user interface, they were not intended to be inclusive.

    Even though in many cases the ft_total is equal to ft_html + ft_pdf this cannot be guaranteed and the software loading the COUNTER report will have no way of knowing; therefore, ft_total metric must be included in the Journal Reports to ensure reports are comparable.
     
  5. If a SUSHI request contains a data range that spans more than one month, should the resulting COUNTER report include just the summary totals by journal?
    No. The COUNTER XML should use the date range in the request to determine the months to be reported on and then provide separate metrics for each month covered in the request.  For example, if a request for Journal Report 1 is for 2008-01 through 2009-06, the resulting COUTNER XML would contain six itemPerformance elements (one for each month). 

    Note
    : do NOT include a seventh “summary” node with totals for all months.
     
  6. If a SUSHI request contains a data range that does not cover a complete month or spans partial months (e.g., 2008-01-15 to 2008-02-15), what should the COUNTER report include?
    Unless there has been some explicit agreement between the client and the server, the expectation of COUNTER is to delivery reports summarized by month.  In the event of a request that covers part of a month, the best practice is for the COUNTER XML to return statistics for the complete month.  For example, if the request was for 2008-01-15 through 2008-02-15, the COUNTER XML would include usage for all of January 2008 and February 2008. The logic is that COUNTER reports contain month-level data; therefore, the “day” part of the dates can be ignored.
     
  7. Should the PubYr attribute on the ItemPerformance element be included for all reports?
    No, this optional attribute is currently only used in Journal Report 5 (to designate the year of publication of the content accessed) and should be omitted from all other reports.
     
  8. Can a single COUNTER report include usage for multiple platforms?
    While the preference for most usage consolidation software is to have a file represent titles from one platform only, the COUNTER code of practice does permit multiple platforms to be represented in a single file and the expectation is that usage consolidation software will be able to load such a file.
     
  9. What does a content provider have to do to become COUNTER compliant?
    Refer to the Stepwise Guide to COUNTER Compliance (http://www.projectcounter.org/documents/COUNTER_compliance_stepwise_guide.pdf) which is designed to take vendors, step-by-step, through the COUNTER compliance process.