Monday, March 22, 2021

Crash Course in Counter 5 Metrics


Do you need a crash course in the new Counter 5 Metrics?  We knew it was coming.  Many of our vendors / publishers have stopped producing usage stats in the old familiar Counter 4 format, and are only offering stats in Counter 5 now.  

There's a lot to know, including:

  • New definitions of the Counter 5 metrics:
    • Total vs. Item vs. Unique Investigations
    • Total vs. Item vs. Unique Requests

  • What's the difference between investigations and requests?
  • How and what do they count (or do NOT count)
  • How do they translate to the old Counter 4 usage stats.  
  • Just what stats should I be tracking now?
  • What reports will give me those stats?

Here are some additional learning resources to get you started:

The Counter Project Foundation Classes video series on YouTube.

  1. Metric Types *
  2. Reports *
  3. Metrics & Reports: Putting it all Together *
  4. Attributes, Elements & Other Slightly Techy Things
  5. Book Reports
  6. Database Reports
  7. Journal Reports
  8. Understanding the Use of Open Access Content
  9. Working with Counter 5 Reports in Microsoft Excel
  10. Platform Reports
  11. Usage in the Time of the Pandemic

Handouts and Guides:


Written by Tasha Mellins-Cohen, this guide will help librarians prepare for Release 5 of the COUNTER Code of Practice. This publication provides a wealth of information about the new Metrics, Master Reports and Standard Views. It also provides a helpful section which maps the key Release 4 reports to their Release 5 counterparts. You will also find several user scenarios, that come together in a set of COUNTER Release 5 reports.  

    • MM's note: This guide seems to track along with videos 1-2-3 of the Foundation classes listed above. 
  • Journal Stats
  • Book Stats 

Silverchair Counter 4 to Counter 5 Release Transition User Guide

More videos:

A Practical Guide to COUNTER Release 5 from ASERL on Vimeo (November 2020)

Another 1-hour video by NASIG (from 2017)

Some useful notes:

Counter 5 Metric Types & Definitions:

What's the difference between Investigations and Requests in Counter 5?

  • Total Item Requests appears to be equivalent to the old Fulltext Views or FT Requests in Counter 4.  
  • Total Item Investigations appears to count the total clicks on the site.  
    • Total Item Investigations is a good metric for citation databases like Cinahl, since users may interact with it more looking at abstracts, or clicking out to a linkresolver to get fulltext elsewhere, or ordering via an ILL form.
  • Accessing an item as FT counts as both a request AND an investigation (an expression of interest). 
  • But the new Counter 5 metrics eliminate the double counts when someone pulls up the html, and then pulls a pdf as well.  

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