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Is grey literature really grey or a hidden glory to showcase the sleeping beauty

Sumeer Gul (Department of Library and Information Science, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Tariq Ahmad Shah (Central Library, Central University of Kashmir, Ganderbal, India)
Suhail Ahmad (Department of Political Science, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Farzana Gulzar (The Business School, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Taseen Shabir (Department of Library and Information Science, IGNOU, New Delhi, India)

Collection and Curation

ISSN: 2514-9326

Article publication date: 12 February 2020

Issue publication date: 16 July 2021




The study aims to showcase the developmental perspective of “grey literature” and its importance to different sectors of the society. Furthermore, issues, challenges and possibilities concerned with the existence of “grey literature” have also been discoursed.


The study is based on the existing literature published in the field of “grey literature” which was identified with the aid of three leading indexing and abstracting services, Web of Science, SciVerse Scopus, and Google Scholar. Keywords like grey literature, black literature, The Grey Journal, The International Journal on Grey Literature, International Conference on Grey Literature, non-conventional literature, semi-published literature, System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe (SIGLE), European Association for the Exploitation of Grey Literature (EAGLE), white literature, white papers, theses and dissertations, GreyNet, grey literature-electronic media, Grey market, open access, OpenNet, open access repositories, institutional repositories, open archives, electronic theses and dissertations, institutional libraries, scholarly communication, access to knowledge, metadata standards for grey literature, metadata heterogeneity, disciplinary grey literature, etc. were searched in the select databases. Simple as well as advanced search feature of the databases were made use of. Moreover, for more recent and updated information on the topic, the “citing articles” feature of the databases was also used. The “citing articles” were consulted on the basis of their relevance with the subject content.


The study helps to understand the definitive framework and developmental perspective of “grey literature”. “Grey Literature” has emerged as a promising content for enhancing the visibility of the ideas that were earlier unexplored and least made use of “Grey literature” has also overcome the problems and issues with its existence and adoption. Technology has played a catalytic role in eradicating the issues and problems pertinent to the “grey literature” to a greater extent.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on the published literature that is indexed by only three databases, i.e. Web of Science, SciVerse Scopus and Google Scholar. Furthermore, some limited aspects of “grey literature” have been covered.

Practical implications

The study will be of great help to various stakeholders and policymakers to showcase the value and importance of “grey literature” for better access and exploitation. It will also be of importance to those interested to know how the literature tagged as grey changed with the passing time and how it through its unseen characteristics has evolved as an important source of information at par with the “white literature”.


The study tries to provide a demarcated and segregated outlook of the “grey literature”. It also focuses on various issues, problems and possibilities pertinent to the adoption and existence of “grey literature”.



Gul, S., Shah, T.A., Ahmad, S., Gulzar, F. and Shabir, T. (2021), "Is grey literature really grey or a hidden glory to showcase the sleeping beauty", Collection and Curation, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 100-111.



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