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Grey literature

Find literature that is not available in traditional channels of publishing and distribution.

What is grey literature?

Grey literature:Pile of books

  • encompasses a broad range of material
  • is not available in traditional channels of publishing and distribution
  • is not well represented in indexing sources

Advantages of grey literature

  • newly disseminated findings
  • information from unpublished studies
  • reports and statistics which may not be available in traditional publishing

Established definitions of grey literature 

"Information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body".

International Conference on Grey Literature Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004.

“Literature which is not readily available through normal book selling channels, and therefore difficult to identify and obtain”.

Auger, C. P. (1989). Information sources in grey literature. London: Bowker-Saur.

Pile of books by Alexander Grey on Pexels.

Types of grey literature

Grey literature can include:

  • Blogs
  • Clinical trials
  • Conference papers/conference proceedings
  • E-prints
  • Fact sheets, bulletins
  • Government documents
  • Government reports
  • Informal communication
  • Interviews
  • Market reports
  • Newsletters
  • Pamphlets
  • Patents
  • Policy statements
  • Reports
  • Research Data
  • Research reports
  • Surveys
  • Theses
  • Tweets
  • Working papers

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