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Aerospace Medicine (NAMI-RAM)

A Closer Look At Grey Literature...

What is grey literature?

The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature (GL '99) in Washington, DC, in October 1999 defined grey literature as follows: "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."

  • Dissertation and Theses 
  • Documents or reports from agencies (government or non-government)
  • Conference Proceedings
  • White papers
  • Ephemera (collectible memorabilia) 

Why is it important?

Grey literature is important because everything is not available in scholarly articles. It can help you find evidence-based material that may not be available in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.

Searching Tip for Grey Literature

If you're looking in a database that has scholarly articles, see if there is an option to select Conference Proceedings, Government Documents, Dissertations/Thesis, or Reports.  Your options will vary between databases.  

For example:

Grey Literature Finding Tools and Resources

"a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences."    a
Grey Guide MedRxiv
Preprint server for the health sciences 
New York Academy of Medicine: Grey Literature Report 
Public Health and Health Policy Resources 
European database for grey literature covering a variety of disciplines.
SciTech Connect
"SciTech Connect is a portal to free, publicly available DOE -sponsored R&D results including technical results, bibliographic citations, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia software, and data information.
Searches the deep web through national and international scientific databases and portals