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Grey Literature GuideClick here to chat with a librarian

This guide provides recommendations, guidance and resources for medical grey literature, including how to find grey literature, grey literature sources, evaluating grey literature, and putting it into practice.

Grey literature is produced by non-traditional publishers. It is published largely online and is often not peer-reviewed. By its nature, grey literature is beyond the reach of commonly used clinical databases such Medline and PubMed. Examples of grey literature include government reports and policies, conference presentations and papers, issues papers and white papers, research and industry reports, theses and dissertations, trial data, statistics and surveys.

Grey Literature

The below video provides an introduction to Grey Literature.

Why is Grey Literature important?

Grey literature is an essential consideration in systematic and thorough searching for a range of reasons, including:

"... the inclusion of grey literature in meta-analyses has been shown to change the results
of whether interventions are considered effective or not" 
 (McAuley, et al. 2000)


Grey literature reduces publication bias -- where studies with significant results are overrepresented in scholarly publications -- by providing a broader perspective. For this reason, it is particularly important to consider grey literature when:

  • Developing or reviewing a clinical guideline
  • Conducting a systematic review or meta-analysis

Grey literature also tends to be more current than traditional research and is a good source of raw data - expanding the primary information available for your research.

A number of authoritative sources recommend searching for grey literature.

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