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Marine Science: Other Information Sources (Grey Literature)

Grey Literature Introduction

The Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature in Prague in 2010 arrived at the following definition:

"Grey literature stands for manifold document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats that are protected by intellectual property rights, of sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by libraries and institutional repositories, but not controlled by commercial publishers; i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body."

The term 'grey literature' is used to describe materials not published commercially or indexed by major databases. While GL may be of questionable quality it has been shown to have an impact in research, teaching and learning. Sometimes, GL is the only source of information for specific research questions. While some GL may be published eventually, and may be easier to find, sometimes it never is.

GL may not go through a peer-review process, and its authority must be scrutinized

Between black and white...

White' literature

'Grey' literature 'Black' literature
Books Preprints Ideas
Published journals e-Prints Concepts
Conference Proceedings Technical Reports Thoughts
  Data sets  
  AV media  

Giustini, D. Finding the Hard to Finds: Searching for Grey Literature (2012 Update)


Searching for Grey Literature in Databases

Most databases include various types of grey literature along with publisher-controlled literature. If you are interested in searching only for grey literature, consider restricting the "publication type" in your search. These types can include: technical report, dissertation, patent, meeting paper, annual report or government publication, among others.


Grey Literature Sources

Conferences papers are a source of current research, best practices and innovations in a research area. If you are unable to get access via the methods below, try contacting the paper's author for a copy.

See our  Patents Guide for information about finding patents

To locate and access theses and dissertations produce at Otago, in Aotearoa, or worldwide

Research repositories are online spaces to store and access research outputs, such as research journal articles and theses. Try searching these sites to find more research:


Research documents produced at universities, polytechnics, and other research institutions throughout New Zealand; formerly KRIS (Kiwi Research Information Service)

Repository for selected research produced at the University of Otago. Includes Book, Book chapters, Journal Articles, Theses, Working Papers and more.

              A consolidated searching platform for digital theses and dissertations around the world. 

  • NERC Open Research Archive (UK) 

    From the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

  • Plymouth Marine Science Electronic Archive (UK) 

    Open access repository for research output from three organisations based in Plymouth: The Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS).

  • AquaDocs 

    AquaDocs is the joint open access repository of the UNESCO/IOC InternationaI Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) and the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC) with support from the FAO Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts. It is a thematic repository covering the natural marine, coastal, estuarine /brackish and fresh water environments and includes all aspects of the science, technology, management and conservation of these environments, their organisms and resources, and the economic, sociological and legal aspects.

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography eScholarship (USA) 

    The SIO's research covers physical, chemical, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans, earth and atmosphere as well as biological research.

  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN) 

SSRN's objective is to provide worldwide distribution of research to authors and their readers. Any paper an author uploads to SSRN is downloadable for free, worldwide.

Here are listed some general sources of grey literature. Some focus on the sciences and health sciences, while others are more general in scope.

Links to a directory of Open Access Repositories across Australasia with various types of Grey Literature, including data, preprints and thesis

“System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe, is your open access to 700.000 bibliographical references of grey literature (paper) produced in Europe and allows you to export records and locate the documents.

“Examples of grey (gray) literature include technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, some conference papers, some official publications, and other types of grey literature.

“OpenGrey covers Science, Technology, Biomedical Science, Economics, Social Science and Humanities.”

Access to data sets from New Zealand government agencies and government-funded projects. (including Local Govt and CRI’s, and Universities)

An initiative that aims to make New Zealand digital content easy to find, share and use. This includes content from government departments, publicly funded organisations, the private sector, and community groups.

are the memory-bank of New Zealand's flora, fauna, and geological and climatic history.( from Crown Research Institutes

AgResearch publications 

ESR publications 

GNS Science publications 

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research publications 

NIWA publications 

Plant & Food Research publications

Scion publications

Callaghan Innovation publications

Marine Science at Portobello

The Portobello Marine Laboratory is the primary research facility for Marine Science at the University of Otago.