Usage Statistics

A study on usage & interoperability of statistics to discover the value of statistics as a tool in measuring the value of OA

16 June 2009 - 30 March 2010,  00:00 - 00:00, 

Usage statistics are an invaluable tool to measure the impact of developments in the area of Open Access repositories and National Licenses, providing valuable information on the use that is being made of a resource. However, usage statistics are at present comparable within one system, but not across systems. Measuring usage is complicated by the visits of robots which distort the real use being made of materials. To make the measurements of usage statistics more reliable, transparent agreements need to be made to allow for a meaningful exchange of usage statistics.

Several workshops took place between 2009 and 2011 in order to bring together representatives from various projects in the field of usage statistics, including COUNTER, PIRUS, OA Statistik and SURE statistics. These workshops resulted in a briefing paper on the Value of Usage Statistics and an agreed set of guidelines for the exchange of Usage Statistics.

16 June 2009 - Geneva, Switzerland

We bought together representatives from projects including COUNTER, OA Statistik and Knowledge Exchange to determine whether there were activities we could undertake together and to identify our approach.

22 January 2010 - Goettingen, Germany

The aim of the workshop was to bring together various national projects in the field of Usage Statistics to see if cooperation across joint activities might be feasible.

At the end of the workshop, the following actions were proposed:

  • Promote OAI- PMH SUSHI for specific expected needs, contact SUSHI for easy to implement sw solution, distribute the lightweight SUSHI (SURE), NISOOpenURLContext encoding
  • European Robot list (updated real time, stamped for Counter standard)
  • Compare Interoperability Guidelines OA Stat > SURFsure > PIRUS > Open AIRE (and of course for use in Denmark!) start in February, discuss in Berlin, March
  • IP-masking issue. Explore the law, regulations and recommend an approach (KE study)
  • Feasibility/Scoping Study on usefully aggregated (national and international) Usage Data look at relevant costs, markets for business and efforts regarding de-duplication
  • Introduce other Impact Factor based on Usage Statistics (as serious alternative for Journal Impact factor) (Topic for Berlin, March)
  • Use/publish Usage Stats to stimulate/challenge Publishers: to open up their usage data information; for better informed negotiations on licenses

29-30 March 2010 - Berlin, Germany

The aim of this workshop was to bring together technical experts working in partner projects collecting usage statistics including PIRUS2OAstatistik and SURFsure projects. Experts from other related projects (RePec and NeeO) were also involved. 

Participants worked to prioritise and start to scope joint activities identified in earlier meetings, explore the potential of Usage Statistics to open up information and get better insight on online information usage and articulate studies and cooperative initiatives that could make a difference.

Guidelines to facilitate the exchange of usage statistics

From the workshop, the experts came to the conclusion that it would be valuable for institutions in all four Knowledge Exchange partner countries as well as countries outside of KE, to have an agreed set of guidelines which could be used when collecting and comparing data on usage statistics.

This work connects with work already planned in projects already funded in three of the countries. Together they have set up a set of guidelines which will be tested and refined by Autumn 2010.

An element in these guidelines is an agreed robotlist. This list extends on the COUNTER list of robots which should be excluded when counting downloads.



Briefing paper: Combined usage statistics as a basis for Research intelligence

The workshop also produced a briefing paper on combined usage statistics as a basis for research intelligence. In this paper, the experts make a cause for collecting and exchanging usage statistics as this can provide valuable insight in how research is being used, not only by the research community, but also by business and society in general. This would provide a basis for 'Research Intelligence', an intelligent use of reliable numerical data which can be used as a basis for decision making in higher education and research.

Usage statistics are a clear example of data which can offer a valuable contribution to the information required to make informed decisions. To allow for the meaningful collection, exchange and analysis of usage statistics, a number of challenges and opportunities need to be addressed and further steps need to be taken.

28 June 2011 - Leiden, The Netherlands

The last workshop on the exchange of Usage Statistics bought together experts from the member countries and other relevant stakeholders to review the results of the previous workshops in Geneva, Berlin and Goettingen.

The participants concluded that the exchanges between the Usage Statistics initiatives were very successful, lead to better understanding between the initiatives and an agreed set of guidelines. 

As the initiatives have met and established a network of trusted parties; further developments and/or cooperation in this area can happen without KE involvement.

Key findings / outcome report download

KE Usage Statistics Guidelines
Interoperability Standards
18 May 2010

KE Usage Statistics Guidelines

Purpose: Report

File type: PDF

Briefing Paper: Combined usage statistics as a basis for Research intelligence
Interoperability Standards
30 March 2010

Briefing Paper: Combined usage statistics as a basis for Research intelligence

Purpose: Report

File type: PDF


A collaboration between

  • dfg
  • csc-it center for science
  • jisc
  • cnrs
  • surf
  • deff