Grey literature is created by researchers and practitioners in various fields, but is not controlled by commercial publishing. The groups that produce grey literature may be government, industry, advocacy or other organizations that disseminate information in the form of reports or working papers rather than by publishing scholarly articles in commercial journals.
Grey literature can be found in the form of:
conference papers, posters or proceedings
clinical trial data
This diagram provides a visual representation of the various sources and types of grey literature considered when conducting a thorough review of the literature:
Grey literature is vital for developing a more complete view of research on a particular topic and for producing systematic reviews and other rigorous approaches to evidence synthesis. Grey literature can be a good source for data, statistics and for very recent research results. Because there's no publisher-enforced limitation on length, these reports can be much more detailed than the journal literature. And they can help to offset issues related to publication bias such as:
publication lag Results of studies may appear in grey literature, such as conference proceedings, a year or more before they appear in a peer-reviewed publications.
positive result bias Study results that show a negative or no effect are published in scholarly journals less often than those that show a positive effect. Those negative results may be found by reviewing the grey literature.
Open access to 700.000 bibliographical references of grey literature (paper) produced in Europe, w/ tools to export records and locate documents. Covers Science, Technology, Biomedical Science, Economics, Social Science and Humanities.
Searches the Meeting Abstracts database for selected abstracts from meetings and conferences in the subject areas of AIDS, Health Services Research, and Space Life Sciences. The database is still accessible, but no new data has been loaded since 2010.
Click on "Advanced Search". Enter keywords into the search box. Click the + sign to the left of the search box to add a second search box. Select "Source" from the dropdown menu. Type "conference" into the second search box.
search a repository of NIH-funded research projects from the past 25 years, access publications since 1980. Here's a detailed manual on how to use it, but you can also try entering your terms into the text search field.
A searchable database of scientific awards from federal agencies. Search results= awarded projects; click any project, then go to the "results" tab to find publications that resulted from the research from the funded project.
A collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations and health sciences libraries. This portal contains many resources for public health practice. Content includes health data and statistics, grant & funding information, publications, conference information, news and more.
Contains findings on programs and policies identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve health and prevent disease in local communities. Includes literature on Healthy People 2020 topics.
Search globally-dispersed multilingual scientific literature by keyword or country specific databases. Results include journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, and other textual information. Search engine offers translation feature.
Gateway to U.S. Federal Science. Search over 60 databases and over 2,200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, for research and development results. Topics include health and science, agriculture, environment, informatics, and more.
The EMA evaluates and supervises medicine for human and veterinary use. To access documents, scroll to the "How to submit a request" section. Click the "online form" link or "guide on access to unpublished documents" for more information.
Trial registries can be used to search for protocols and to identify unpublished studies and outcomes. Resources with the broadest global perspective are listed first.
The ISRCTN registers all clinical research studies (proposed, ongoing or completed) and provides each one with a unique identifying number. All study records in the database are searchable and freely accessible.
U.S. National Institutes of Health registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. A list of which databank sources are included in the Medline database can be viewed here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/medline_databank_source.html
Search for protocol and results information on interventional clinical trials conducted in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA); and those conducted outside the EU / EEA that are linked to European paediatric-medicine development.
Source of clinical trials and drug information for both clinical research professionals and patients. Includes white papers, trial listings seeking study volunteers, and news and analysis on the industry.
An open, online database of information about the world’s clinical research trials. Matches documents and data for each trial including registry entries, papers, regulatory documents; methods and results; researchers, clinical study reports, and more.