Presented at the 36th Annual NASIG Conference on May 21, 2021. View presentation recording at


COUNTER data is intended to be consistent, credible and comparable, and COUNTER Release 5 introduced four new reporting metrics with that aim in mind: total_item_requests, unique_item_requests, total_item_investigations, and unique_item_investigations. These new measurements allow librarians to compare use across different platforms and finally overcome the shortcomings of previous COUNTER releases where platform design strongly influenced usage statistics often resulting in double counting PDF downloads and HTML views. This presentation will discuss the changes from Release 4 to Release 5 and how the new metrics will enable more robust decision making and comparison across platforms. We will report the results of a study comparing COUNTER 4 and COUNTER 5 usage statistics for a selection of journal subscriptions of an ARL research library. Special emphasis will be placed on investigating the effects of the new reporting metrics, identifying providers most impacted by the changes in metrics, and assessing how much of the double counting in COUNTER 4 was eliminated by the standards change. We will also explain how open access usage data can inform the library in decision making and the impact of the global pandemic on the 2020 usage statistics.