Grey Literature


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Grey literature has been defined by the Luxembourg Convention on Grey Literature (1997/2012) as:

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.

Examples of grey literature include:

  • technical or research reports
  • theses and dissertations
  • conference papers
  • committee reports
  • government documents
  • institutional repositories
  • preprint materials
  • white papers
  • blogs and newsletters
  • podcasts

Also called selection bias or reporting bias, publication bias refers broadly to bias in what is selected or likely to be published.

In academic contexts, particularly in the sciences, publication bias refers to the over-representation of positive research studies in systematic literature reviews that consequently lead to inaccurate conclusions. 

Using grey literature is one method of reducing publication bias through inclusion of research that is unpublished, in the preprint stage of publication, or has generally received less exposure. 

Grey literature is not readily available through conventional sources (i.e. mainstream publishers and subscription databases). With the growth of the Internet, sources are more accessible but still challenging to locate.

How do you find sources of grey literature? This guide presents a range of options, but there are many more available. Here are a few strategies:

  • Check reference lists and bibliographies of published articles, systematic reviews, and similar resources
  • Consult with authors, researchers and experts in the field
  • Collaborate with a librarian who can assist you in searching for resources
  • Go to the Grey Literature Report website to view new, peer-reviewed sources of grey literature or subscribe to their newsletter
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Welcome to the RGO Library & Learning Commons guide for Grey Literature. 

This guide explains the importance of using grey literature to avoid publication bias and contains a wide range of sources for multiple disciplines and subject areas, including health studies, science, education and business.


Grey literature is not readily available through conventional sources (i.e. mainstream publishers and subscription databases). With the growth of the Internet, sources have become more accessible but still challenging to locate.

Bow Valley College's Librarian has customized this Google search box to limit search results to resources compiled in this guide and additional selected sources of grey literature available online: