Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is Grey Literature and Why Do I Need It?
DEFINITION: “That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers i.e. where publishing is not the main activity of the producing body” - GreyNet
Synonyms: Gray literature, Fugitive literature
WHY: When conducting a literature review or systematic review you should also search for grey literature on your topic for the following reasons:
- Reduces publication bias
- Incorporating unpublished trial data can change statistical results
- Grey literature is often more current
Thank you to University of Pittsburgh, Systematic Review Workshop for the contents on this page
Types of Grey Literature
- Census, economic, government (federal/state/local)
- Conference proceedings and abstracts
- Informal communications (phone conversations, email, meetings, etc.)
- Registered clinical trials
- Drug information
- Research reports (either completed or uncompleted)
- Technical reports
- Theses and Dissertations
- Blogs, Listserv archives
- Web sites
- White papers
Grey Literature Overview [Lister Hill Library]
Good Places to Start!
Link from the Himmelfarb Library Database link to view full-text availability of articles. Includes theses, conferences and patents,
Grey Matters: a practical search tool for evidence-based medicine.
NYAM: Grey Lit Report
As of January 2017, the Grey Literature Report website and database will be discontinued and will no longer be updated, but the resources will still be accessible. The Grey Literature Report is produced by The New York Academy of Medicine Library. It includes selected new grey literature publications in health services research and some public health topics. Reports are archived and can be browsed or searched. This video demonstrates using the Grey Literature Report.
OAIster Free search
Project of the Digital Library Production Service of the University of Michigan University Library. Contains a collection of freely available, previously difficult-to-access, academically oriented digital resources.
Science.gov searches over 60 databases and over 2000 selected websites from 13 federal agencies.