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Working Papers and "Grey" Literatures

Working Papers & "Grey" Literature 


Wikipedia definition of grey literature 

Definition from the Pisa Declaration on Policy Development for Grey Literature Resources 

Here is an excerpt from the Pisa Declaration on Policy Development for Grey Literature Resources, defining what grey literature is:

A wealth of knowledge and information is produced by organizations, governments and industry, covering a wide range of subject areas and professional fields, not controlled by commercial publishing. These publications, data and other materials known as grey literature, are an essential resource in scholarly communication, research, and policy making for business, industry, professional practice, and civil society. Grey literature is recognized as a key source of evidence, argument, innovation, and understanding in many disciplines including science, engineering, health, social sciences, education, the arts and humanities.

Grey literature document types in print or electronic formats include among others: research and technical reports, briefings and reviews, evaluations, working papers, conference papers, theses, and multimedia content, representing an important and valuable part of research and information."
Subject Heading and Scope Note from the Library of Congress 

Grey literature
  • Here are entered works on publications such as reports, theses, conference papers, translations and limited circulation government documents which are not normally available through commercial publication sources.
  • Variants
     Gray literature 
     Non-commercial publications 
     Non-conventional publications
  •  Broader Terms
    Printed ephemera
Greynet International 
Greynet International, dedicated to the study of grey literature, has international meetings and publishes a journal.  The Grey Literature Network Service is primarily interested in grey literature in science.

Types of Grey Literature

Conference Papers
ProQuest Conference Papers Index (paid subscription) 
Emphasizes scientific fields.

Conference Papers on the Web
Of course some conference papers can now be found in subject indexes and on the Web.  Here is an example of a Google search on  
"public management" conference papers:
Working Papers--Databases, Guides, and Collections

CIAO Columbia International Affairs Online (paid database) 
Source of working papers, white papers, and conference reports from think tanks, academic centers, and NGOs dealing with international affairs. Indexes many materials not found in other databases.

Political Science and Public Administration Guide, Working Papers Tab – J. Conrad Dunagan Library, University of Texas of the Permian Basin
One of a number of excellent library guides that list sources of working papers for public administration.

Working Papers--Individual Schools or Organizations

Working paper series from individual schools or organizations can be discovered through a general Internet search engine (for example, Google):

Evans School Working Paper Series – Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington  

Working Paper Series – La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Working Papers – School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg
This series published in English or Swedish.

Working Papers, Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management – Baruch College, School of Public Affairs

Selected Grey Literature Sites by Subject


Grey literature in education (library guide) 

Guide to the research process (University of the West Indies) 
Sources of grey literature in education, many of them free and open access

Health Sciences

Finding Qualitative Research Articles: Gray Literature  (University of Washington Health Sciences Library)
Lists include unpublished theses and dissertations.  For more on finding theses and dissertations, please see Dissertations and Theses section

Public Administration

Grey Literature Strategies, a three-year research project from the Government of Australia
Sponsored By: