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London Metropolitan University

Research Matters: Finding grey literature

Research Matters

What is grey literature?

Grey literature is the term used to describe material which has not been published by a commercial publisher, but which may still be of interest and use to researchers. It includes content like government reports, industry reports, White papers, theses, posters and presentations from conferences, patents, unpublished clinical trial data, business reports, market reports, working papers, preprints, and much more.

This type of material will generally not be found within the academic databases, so it is important to know where to look for it. We have listed some suggested sources below. As with anything that you locate freely available on the internet, do make sure that you evaluate the content for reliability and accuracy; you may find the Finding information on the internet and the Web sources sections of Library Matters helpful for a reminder of what to look out for. 

Places to find grey literature

Government and parliamentary documents


UK Parliament: the offical website of the UK Parliament contains a huge amount of material, including Hansard, reports and publications from committees, current and draft Bills, business papers and publications from both Houses, and research publications. search for or browse Acts of Parliament and other legislation within the UK.

GOV.UK: search for documents, publications, reports and other information produced by UK Government Departments. 

Europa: the official website of the European Union, containing EU policy, law, statistics and publications. the offical website of the US Congress, containing Bills, reports and other documentation from the US Federal Legislature. 



Ipsum - Online Patent Information and Document Inspection Service: a service from the Intellectual Property Office for searching for and accessing information on UK patent applications.

Patent publication service: covers all UK applications published and granted after 3 January 2007 and all UK corrected documents published after 1 April 2010, provided by the Intellectual Property Office. 

Espacenet: worldwide coverage of published patents and patent applications from 1782 to the current time. 


Policy documents

Policy Commons: discover and access over one million documents from IGOs, NGOs, research centres and thinktanks. 

Theses and dissertations


The London Met Repository: doctoral theses completed at London Met are digitised and uploaded to our Repository. 

EThOS: the British Library e-thesis online service. It offers free access to the full text of digitised UK Doctoral theses. Users will need to register to download a thesis but can search without registering. If the thesis you require has not been digitised yet, the British Library will obtain it and digitise it, and you'll be informed when it is ready to download. In some cases, if you are the first person to request a thesis and so it has to be digitised for you, you may be asked to pay towards the costs of digitisation. Library Services will normally cover the cost of digitisation for London Met staff and students.

DART-Europe E-theses Portal: a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses.

Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD): OATD aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world.

Thesis Commons: A crowdfunded Open Access platform for students across the world to share their undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.