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Grey Literature: About Grey Literature

What's Grey Literature?

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Gray literature is defined as “information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print format not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body" (ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997, Expanded in New York, 2004). Therefore, it's not found in traditional scholarly journal publications.

What is Grey Literature? - Video

Who Creates Grey Literature?

Who creates grey literature? Here are a few common authors:

Why is Grey Literature Important?

The value of grey literature varies between disciplines, but here are a few ways grey literature is important to academic scholarship:

  • Grey literature can be more current than scholarly articles because it doesn’t necessarily go through a rigorous review process so information can be produced and disseminated quickly. It’s important to know how to evaluate grey literature for your academic assignments to make sure what your citing is reliable (See Evaluate Grey Literature).

  • Grey literature produces information on non-mainstream or niche research not typically printed by commercial publishers.

Grey literature can be found for free on the Web, but they can be a challenge to find! (See Find Grey Literature).

What Are Examples of Grey Literature?

Grey literature encompasses may different types of resources, including, but not limited to, the following:

Standards, bulletins, social media, clinical trials, white papers, conference proceedings, patents, government documents, blogs, dissertations, statistical reports, newsletters, and technical reports.