Finding grey literature

About grey literature

Grey literature is defined as “information produced by all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing”. (GreyNet)

Examples of grey literature include:  

  • statistics
  • policy
  • government reports
  • conference proceedings 
  • unpublished theses
  • brochures and newsletters
  • technical reports
  • patents and standards 
  • open source data sets
  • clinical guidelines and clinical trials registers.

Grey literature sources can help you find:

  • research in progress and the latest research findings and data 
  • information about unsuccessful studies that have not been published
  • reports and policy documents that are not available in traditionally published sources
  • current statistics
  • local community information. 

Grey literature can present alternative perspectives to your research, balance published research bias, and help identify research gaps.

Searching for grey literature

Find grey literature resources on government, industry, professional and community organisation websites and directories. Here are some suggestions:

Institutional repositories Policy and government reports Open source datasets Archived websites
Sydney eSscholarship repository Australian Government datasets Pandora
Australasian Open Access Repositories Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) - (formerly Australian Policy Online) Research Data (ANDS)  Australian Government Web Archive
TROVE - National Library of Australia   re3data - Registry of Research Data Repositories Internet Archive: Wayback Machi
OpenDOAR   Data Repositories - Open Access Directory  

Evaluating grey literature

Grey literature is rarely peer reviewed, so you will need to critically evaluate each source to ensure accuracy and quality. 

You can use the AACODS checklist as an evaluation tool. 

  • Contact

    For help with grey literature, contact a librarian.

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