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We are frequently asked about COUNTER compliant stats, which are a standardised way for vendors and publishers to report on usage (for details see:

Does OpenAthens provide COUNTER compliant stats?


Why not? 

We don't provide COUNTER compliant stats because we simply can't: what they cover and what we can count are very different things.

  • COUNTER covers things that happen after a user has gained access such as publications accessed and authors read. They can tell you a great deal about a defined set of elements, but only those elements.
  • OpenAthens reports on information about the user at the moment they are sent to the resource such as department, group, course - whatever you have chosen to set as reportable. We only see the users' activity at the moment they log in.

The only field common to both is 'Platform', and even that is not particularly consistent as not only can the name vary by location, it is quite common for a vendor to put all of their services and platforms behind the same SAML login - e.g. ScienceDirect, EngineeringVillage, and SCOPUS all appear to OpenAthens as one service called 'Elsevier Products'.

Even if you send the service in question richer information about the user as part of the login, and even if that service uses that data for things like personalisation, the COUNTER standard has no facility to include that information in its reports. There is, unfortunately, no effective way to link the data.

What about the eduPersonAnalyticsTag?

The eduPersonAnalyticsTag is an attribute that some providers are trialling as a way of getting data into the COUNTER stats that can be used to break them down by groupings supplied by the library via the login such as department or cohort, but specifically not anything that identifies the user. OpenAthens is capable of sending this attribute and we have a guide for setting it up.

We do not have a list of which vendors support it, however Elsevier are known to be trialling it ( If you get COUNTER stats from a vendor, you should ask them about it. 

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