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Gray Literature Guide

What is gray literature?

Gray literature is a different sort of information.  It is not scholarly or published, but provides valuable information to the sciences.  Gray literature is written by researchers and experts in the field, but is not peer reviewed, which makes gray literature different than the journal articles found in subscription databases and indexes.  Because of this lack of review, gray literature is often more detailed and made accessible quicker than published material, but lacks the validation provided by peer review and publication.  

Gray literature is produced by govertment agencies, associations, professional organizations, research centers and universities.  The following list of documents can be considered gray literature:

  • Dissertation and theses
  • Conference presentations and proceedings
  • Government documents
  • Technical reports
  • Patents
  • Pre-prints
  • Standards
  • Unpublished trial data

Where to find gray literature?

In addition to these resources, professional organizations and associations may also have information about current research and new findings.