Recommendations eResources usage statistics

The reports to use for which resource and how to work out the cost benefit.


Where applicable, use COUNTER reports as they are standard and therefore allow for more reliable comparison of electronic resources from different suppliers

COUNTER 5 reports give more detail, so use if available.

Use supplier usage reports to give more granular information.

Do not use OpenAthens usage data as it only counts number of sessions per platform.

Cost analysis. When working out the cost/benefit of a database, remember to divide the cost of database by your chosen measure.   Compare it to sourcing the same articles via ILL.  Remember to use NHS Process Costing Framework to calculate costs accurately


Check usage from all direct access routes to databases i.e. native interfaces and discovery services.

Session statistics don’t tell you very much.  The number of regular searches, and record clicks/unique item requests will be more useful in determining activity.

Searches are valuable because a user may find useful information without necessarily downloading anything; a lack of papers for example.

For use of databases via the provider inetrfaces use the Database Master Report, add total of Searches Regular to Unique Item Requests.

To include use via other platforms, also add in the total of Searches Automated

Use Database Report 2/Database Access Denied (Supplier report (non-COUNTER) to check turnaways/access denials.


For EBSCO's Discovery Service (EDS) you cannot use COUNTER 5 reports as these are only relevant for content.  Instead you need to use EBSCO standard reports.

Use the Interface Usage Report.  The important statistics are:

Search clicks

Total requests [total of full-text, linkout and abstract requests]. 

Fulltext requests are for content supplied by EBSCO. Linkout requests are made for content or services ouside the EBSCO platform.

These measures show the amount of user activity in EDS.

Add search clicks to total requests and divide the cost by this total.

Use suppliers' COUNTER 5 reports for accurate data on the number of full-text downloads.


Using Journal Report 1/Journal Request Report, check total full-text downloads/unique item requests.  

Divide cost by downloads/requests.

Remember to check all access routes, for example direct access, via Discovery or eJournal collection. 

Use Journal Report 2 /Journal Access Denied (Supplier report (non-COUNTER) to check turnaways/access denials.


Using Book Report 1/Book Requests Report, check unique title requests. 

Divide cost of book by number of unique title requests.

Use Book Report 3 / Book Access Denied Journal Access Denied (Supplier report (non-COUNTER) to check turnaways/access denials.

Suppliers own usage reports may give more granular information such as chapter downloads and abstract views. 

Page last reviewed: 4 February 2022