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Finding Grey Literature: Sources of Grey Literature

This guide provides tools and methods to locate grey literature


This page has links to general or aggregated grey literature sources. Discipline specific resources can be found under the discipline tabs.


Educational and research institutions are major producers of grey literature in the form of theses, conference papers, working papers, reports and more. Many of these resources are available as open access. The sites below will assist you in locating and searching these repositories. The repository for JCU is called Research Online @JCU.


The sites listed below provide access to digital theses from around the world that are available as open access (free). Some also list theses that need to be purchased.

Statistics and data

Statistics and data are often considered grey literature as they are published by government, research organisations and researchers, not by traditional publishing sources. Below are some places to find these resources.

Web directories

These are directories that highlight a range of grey literature sources across all disciplines.

Think tanks

Think tanks or institutes:

  • Conduct research on  social policy, political policy and strategy, culture, technology and other significant government related responsibilities.
  • May be cross disciplinary.
  • Usually have highly specialised knowledge.
  • Usually address current issues and may be used to enliven public debate.
  • Outputs can be controversial.
  • May act as a lobby group.

Library databases and catalogues

Library catalogues contain grey literature in the main lending collections as well as in archives, special collections and theses collections.

Many databases also list grey literature, especially theses and conference papers. Check the page for your discipline to see databases containing grey literature.

The sites below are union catalogues, which allow you to search the collections of many libraries at once. These are particularly useful for finding theses and conference papers.

Preprint archives

Preprint databases contain the author's original manuscript before submission for traditional publication. There are preprint archives available for most disciplines. The link below is for a search engine for multiple preprint servers.

Content of preprint servers are not peer reviewed; exercise caution when using these sources. Read any comments that may be attached to your article to see if others agree or disagree with the article content.

Patents, Standards and IP sources

Patents, standards and IP documents are also considered grey literature as they are published by organisations and individuals, not by traditional publishing sources. Below are some places to find these resources.

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