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Grey Literature: Health Sciences Grey Lit

Defining & Locating Grey Literature

Table of Contents:

What is Grey Literature?

Sources of Grey Literature by Type:

Also see the Library Research Guide for Grey Literature in Other Disciplines


What is Grey Literature?

Grey literature (GL) is defined as:

  • materials not published commercially or indexed by major databases
  • "Fugitive," "ephemeral," "invisible" literature that may be unpublished, unevaluated, not peer-reviewed
  • "Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." (Luxembourg, 1997 - Expanded in New York, 2004, http://www.greynet.org/)

Grey Literature may exist in any number of formats:

  • reports
  • preprints
  • conference abstracts and proceedings
  • white papers
  • theses, bibliographies
  • pamphlets
  • official documents
  • newsletters
  • registered trials
  • patents
  • informal communication (that may include interviews, blog postings, podcasts, personal communication such as email)
  • website information
  • web repositories
  • and more!

 Read more about grey literature:

Sources for Grey Literature

Clinical Trials

Reports/Data/Open Archives

  • AHRQ 
  • CDC Stacks: free, digital archive of scientific research and literature produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Composed of curated collections tailored for public health research needs. Access to current CDC research and literature such as the Open Access Collection. In addition, CDC Stacks offers a historical perspective that was previously not available, such as the first 30 volumes of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  • New York Academy of Medicine Catalog: Provides access to the NY Academy of Medicine "Grey Literature Report," a bimonthly alerting service.
  • The OAIster® database  
  • Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository (SIGMA)
  • Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)  
  • OpenDOAR: OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories. Each OpenDOAR repository has been visited by project staff to check the information that is recorded here. This in-depth approach does not rely on automated analysis and gives a quality-controlled list of repositories.
  • NYU Health Sciences Data Catalog: Access to large datasets available either publicly or through institutional or individual licensing. Dataset records include information about the content of the dataset, how to access the dataset, and local experts within NYULMC and NYU to assist in the use of these datasets.
  • OpenGrey [Archived Data]: System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe, open access to 700.000 bibliographical references of grey literature (paper) produced in Europe and allows you to export records and locate the documents.  OpenGrey is no longer updated, but its data has been archived by GreyNet in the DANS EASY Archive.  
  • Organization Web Sites A - Z (from MedlinePlus.gov): Links to organizations, which may publish a variety of reports, white papers, pamphlets, data, presentations, posters, etc.
  • PAIS International: Useful for public affairs, public and social policies, and international relations. Indexes journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more. Newspapers and newsletters are not indexed. Coverage is international. Topics range from human rights to law and ethics to trade. Covers 1972 to present.

Research in Progress

Theses/Dissertations

Meetings/Proceedings

  • Biosis Previews: Life sciences and biomedical research from journals, meetings, patents, and books.
  • PAIS International: Useful for public affairs, public and social policies, and international relations. Indexes journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, publications of international agencies, microfiche, Internet material, and more. Newspapers and newsletters are not indexed. Coverage is international. Topics range from human rights to law and ethics to trade. Covers 1972 to present.