Grey 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). It is not found in traditional scholarly journal publications.
This short video (2:39 minutes) by The Western University (Ontario, Canada) gives a very brief and clear description of grey literature.
The value of grey literature varies between disciplines, but here are a few ways grey literature is important to academic scholarship.
Keep in mind that grey literature should be evaluated for currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose, just like any other type of information. Check out our Evaluate Resources Guide for more information.
Grey literature encompasses may different types of resources, including:
Blogs, bulletins, clinical trials, conference proceedings, dissertations, fact sheets, government documents & reports, informal communication, interviews, market reports, newsletters, patents, pamphlets, policy statements, research data & reports, standards, statistical reports, social media, surveys, theses, technical reports, tweets, white papers, and working papers.