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What is Grey Literature?

Grey (or Gray) literature can generally be described as material “which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers.” (4th International Conference on Grey Literature, Washington DC, 1999).

Information is generated in many ways by government, businesses, industries and academia both in print and electronic formats. Types of information included in grey literature include reports, theses, conference proceedings, specifications, standards and policies that are produced by organisations where the principle function is not publishing.

Sources of Grey Literature

Grey literature is not produced by traditional publishers and can be more difficult to source. The internet has made this easier. Many grey literature sources can be found with an internet search. Using the Google Advanced Search, your results can be limited using the domain names. EG.For educational institutions in Australia ( or for Australian government departments ( Using the Field Type can also make your results more relevant - in the Google Advanced Search, limit results to .doc or .pdf for documents or .xls for spreadsheets.

Company and professional body websites can also be good sources for Grey literature.

As with any information source on the internet, make sure you use credible sources.

Suggested sources

Library Databases

Library databases can be used to search for grey literature such as reports, conference proceedings and theses. Individual databases can differ in the search techniques required to locate grey literature. Some useful databases through the Deakin University Library are:

Informit - Using the advanced search, document types can be limited to resources such as reports, conferences or theses.

Business Source Complete - Under publication type, there are many types of documents such as reports and conference proceedings and paper that can be selected including a Grey Literature document type.

IMF eLibrary - Access to the International Monetary Fund working papers, studies and statistical tools.

NBER - Access to The National Bureau of Economic Research research and working papers.

EconLIT - Produced by the American Economic Association, EconLIT indexes dissertations and working papers as well as articles.

Also Trove - Trove (National Library of Australia) can be useful to source past papers and reports. Using the Advanced Search, use the limiters to select formats such as reports, working papers or conference papers


Australian Policy, Reports and Analysis

The Treasury - Covers policy publications and reviews by the treasury department on a range of issues including the economy and international economic policy.

Department of Finance - Documents on the Commonwealth Budget and Economic and Fiscal Outlooks

Office of the Chief Economist - Part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Office of the Chief Economist includes analysis and data.

Reserve Bank of Australia - Research discussion papers - Research within the Reserve Bank of Australia

APO - APO (Analysis & Policy Observatory) provides access to policy and reports both current and historical.


Grey Literature Databases

OpenGrey - OpenGrey is a multidisciplinary European database, Document types include technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, conference papers, official publications, and other types of grey literature.


Working papers/ Open Research

EconStor - Open access repository in Economics including working papers and conference proceedings as well as journal articles.

IDEAS - Another open access database dedicated to Economics with working papers and journal articles

SSRN - Open access repository for research and working papers

OpenDOAR - Directory of open access repositories

Australian Open Access Repositories - Lists many Australian Open access repositories



ABS - Australian Bureau of Statistics Australia's statistical agency providing official statistics on a wide range of areas. - Australian Government data portal - the central source of Australian open government data.

World Bank Open Data - Accessed via Deakin library the World Bank Open Data provides access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the world.



A good place to look for a thesis is in the repository of the University the thesis was submitted to. Many universities have an online repository for research and theses by their staff and students. Deakin's online repository is DRO. The repositories of many of the universities in Australia can be found in Australian Open Access Repositories.

Trove also has theses. Conduct an Advanced search and under format, limit to Thesis.



Allconferences is a directory of conferences with links to the conference home page.

Conal Conference alerts lists upcoming conferences worldwide in many areas of interest.


Locating potential organisations to search

Scopus ( Via the library) - To locate organisations or universities with documents that may be of interest, try searching Scopus for the topic and under the limiters, have a look at Affiliations.