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Gray Literature: What is Gray Literature?

What, Why, Where & How of Gray Literature

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For additional information or comments please contact: lauralipke@atsu.edu

Gray Literature

Gray Literature (Grey Literature)

  • Produced by government agencies, corporate industries, and at the academic level
  • May be in paper or electronic formats
  • Is NOT controlled by commercial publishers

Source: http://www.greylit.org/about

Gray Literature information video from Johns Hopkins Welch Medical library

Where is the rest of the data iceberg? 

Examples of Gray Literature

Examples of Gray Literature include, but are not limited to,

  • Reports 
  • Discussions 
  • White papers 
  • Conference proceedings/Briefings,
  • Dissertations/Theses
  • Registered clinical trials

These may or may not be peer reviewed, and may be in paper or electronic format.

Sources of Gray Literature may be located in commercial databases, websites and/or university repositories. 

 

Why use Gray Literature?

"The intent of an evidence synthesis is to synthesize all available evidence that is applicable to your research question. There is a strong bias in scientific publishing toward publishing studies that show some sort of significant effect.  Meanwhile, many studies and trials that show no effect end up going unpublished.  But knowing that an intervention had no effect is just as important as knowing that it did have an effect when it comes to making decisions for practice and policy-making. While not peer-reviewed, gray literature represents a valuable body of information that is critical to consider when synthesizing and evaluating all available evidence."

Source: https://guides.library.cornell.edu/evidence-synthesis/gray-literature

Further Reading