Transitioning from R4 to R5

Data in JUSP

Release 5 (R5) of the COUNTER Code of Practice came into effect from January 2019, and most suppliers provide data back to this point. However, not all suppliers have yet adopted the new standard or are providing fully COUNTER compliant reports via SUSHI. This means that for the 2019 and 2020 reporting period there will be a mixture of R4 and R5 data.

Understanding and explaining the changes

COUNTER R5 has introduced new concepts, reports and terminology. To help bring you and your colleagues up to speed we have compiled a quick guide: resources to support training colleagues and also shared templates in the Community area of the Portal (login required).

COUNTER have also produced a range of resources to support the transition:

Making comparisons with previous years

When analysing usage and evaluating subscriptions, many libraries are interested in looking at trends over time and comparing with previous years' usage.

It is possible to get usage figures that are comparable with the R4 JR1 full text article requests and BR2 section requests by using the appropriate filters on the Title Master Report (TR). COUNTER have provided guidance in the Code of Practice: 13.3 Transitioning from COUNTER R4 to R5.


Note that there are exceptions for certain supplier due to the way usage was counted in R4. Some suppliers appear to have very large drops in usage counts when comparing R4 BR2 section requests and R5 Total_Item_Requests.

SpringerLink is one example of this, and they have a support guide that explains why this is and how to obtain a custom metric directly from their librarian portal. See How to compare book requests in C4 with requests in C5. Note that this custom metric is unique to SpringerLink and not included in the JUSP reports.

Transition reports in JUSP

To support 2019/20 reporting and analysis requirements, JUSP has a quick view that uses the filters specified by COUNTER to display COUNTER R5 data in the style of JR1 and BR2 reports using the closest equivalent data.

JR1 styleBR2 style
Data Type Journal Book
Section Type All section types Article | Chapter | Section
Access Type No filter (controlled and GOA) No filter (controlled and GOA)
Access Method Regular Regular
YOP All years / no filter All years / no filter
Metric Type Total_Item_Requests Total_Item_Requests

These reports are intended to support the transition from R4 to R5 and are available on a temporary basis.

Notes of caution

The transition reports present the closest equivalent metrics based on R5 data. This means that:

  • the figures will not be identical to the R4 figures
  • figures are only available for the reporting period from January 2019 onwards

While we will investigate and inform publishers of major discrepancies if we believe there to be a misinterpretation of the standard or an implementation error, it is not feasible to account for every minor variation. R4 journal reports generally include all titles whereas R5 only includes titles used in the specified date range.

Display of publisher, suppliers and services in JUSP

With R5 we have switched from working in terms of 'publishers' in R4 journals to 'services'. This means that there are differences in the way we refer to a publisher/service E.g. in R4 journals you will see 'Elsevier' but in R5 it will be 'ScienceDirect'.

This change also means for R5 reports we can now provide full journal usage reports for platforms such as EBSCOhost and ProQuest (when compliant reports become available).