Open access publisher Frontiers moves to a new article metric platform COUNTER

To ensure even more transparent and consistent data reporting, Frontiers has moved to a new metric platform COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources). It is an initiative that provides standards and protocols for measuring and analyzing usage data for online scholarly content. Established in 2002 and endorsed by publishers, librarians, and research institutions around the world as a trusted source of usage data, it secures credible, consistent, and compatible statistics of electronic resources. 

COUNTER Release 5 (R5) is the latest version of the COUNTER Code of Practice. It includes new metrics and reporting requirements for measuring the usage of online scholarly content, such as articles views and downloads, by providing more granular and flexible reporting options. 

COUNTER R5 allows publishers and authors to measure the impact of their research and ensure their usage data is consistent and reliable. It provides item metrics, trend data, and open access usage. This includes: 

  • displaying human views and downloads on public pages, which excludes bots by applying newer standard of Counter 5.02 (2023+) software. This might result in a decrease of 17% for views and 12% for downloads, but will make it more precise, reliable, and industry compliant. 
  • displaying geolocation data, which verifies where views and downloads are coming from. It will be consistent with the dynamic counter views and downloads for all article pages, RT pages, and researcher profile pages.  

The new metrics in Release 5 provide new, more efficient, accurate, and reliable, ways of tracking: 

  • Total Item Investigations (displayed as views at Frontiers). This counts every click that displays information about an article, and every click that downloads its content, so the new metrics give you extra information about the activity on an article.  
  • Unique Item Investigations (measured internally only). This counts the information and download clicks for each article, but not the repeated ones.  
  • Total Item Requests (displayed as downloads at Frontiers). This counts the number of times a user clicks to download an article (item) either as a PDF, HTML or other formats. If a user clicks to view the HTML of an article and then clicks to download the PDF, the count is two.  
  • Unique Item Requests (measured internally only). This counts the download clicks for an article, but it does not include repeated clicks on the same article during a session. Only the first click to view the article as HTML or PDF is counted.  

COUNTER maintains the Registries of Compliance, which lists the publishers and vendors who have passed an independent audit of their usage statistics. Frontiers is joining the ranks with Jisc, Springer Nature, SAGE Publishing, Wolters Kluwer, among others. Researchers benefit from a realistic assessment of their research impact in an accurate, transparent, reliable, and industry compliant manner. 

As an open access publisher, Frontiers has adopted COUNTER R5 metrics to provide its authors and readers with transparent and reliable usage data of their published articles. By doing so, it ensures that metrics are aligned with the latest industry standards and best practices, enabling authors and readers to gain more accurate insights into how their articles are being used. 

For more information, please see see our FAQs (hyperlink FAQ

About Frontiers   

Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest research publisher. We publish groundbreaking discoveries by the world’s top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 2.5 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.    

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