Research literature produced and disseminated outside of commercial publishing (grey literature) makes a substantial contribution to public policy, education, commercial innovation and social development.
Digital technologies have radically increased our capacity to ‘publish’ research informally however many of the social and economic benefits are then lost as grey literature lacks bibliographic and production standards, evaluation criteria, systematic collection and preservation strategies.
This three year research project funded by the Australian Research Council seeks to develop best practice guidelines for producing and managing grey literature in Australia in order to tranform access to public interest research for the whole community. It will identify changes to national information policies, collecting practices and organisational procedures, including digital content production, metadata standards, network collaboration, and information collection.
This project is being carried out by Swinburne University and Victoria University in partnership with the National Library of Australia, National and State Libraries Australasia, the Australian Council for Educational Research, Australian Policy Online and the Eidos Institute aimed at enhancing the transparency and accessibility of informally published research and information.
The aims of the Grey Literature Strategies project are to:
- Define the role and value of grey literature and establish ways in which its impact and value can be evaluated and measured.
- Improve the way grey literature is produced and published in Australia in order to maximise its quality, impact and use.
- Improve access, retrieval and preservation of grey literature by collecting institutions, universities and other organisations.
- Build networks of collaboration across sectors active in producing and/or managing policy-oriented grey literature in order to build capacity for shared administration and technological development.
The project will be tackled using a range of research methods including:
- A context analysis of international trends in managing electronic resources and grey literature.
- A content analysis of information policies and other relevant documents relating to grey literature collection and preservation in Australia and internationally.
- Large sample surveys of producers, consumers and collectors of grey literature.
- Interviews with key stakeholders using semi-structured depth interviews.
- Case studies of key organisations and their role as producers and consumers of grey literature.
The outcomes expected as a result of the project include:
- An assessment of current policies and practices used to produce and manage informal electronic publications and recommendations for improvements.
- Evaluation of the benefits and requirements of various technological and collaborative systems operating in Australia and internationally to collect and retrieve online resources.
- A review of publishing operations, standards, protocols and technologies currently in use, and an evaluation of potential efficiencies that might be gained.
- Published survey results and interview analysis of key stakeholders from education, government, community, commercial and professional sectors.
- Best practice guidelines for producing, evaluating and managing grey literature in Australia.
- Recommendations and requirements for a framework of infrastructure and collaboration across sectors to improve access to and preservation of grey literature research.
Contribution to the research sector
The outputs will guide researchers, educators, organisations, policymakers, libraries, archives and online resource collections. Dissemination across the research and academic sectors will establish the social and educational value of informal publication, identifying optimal models for production, dissemination, collection and preservation. The research will make a major contribution to emerging scholarly fields on electronic publishing, digital education, media and communications, grey literature, open access, information policy, placing the project and its partners at the forefront of the international research in this area.
Grey Literature Strategies is supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant and is a partnership between Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University, the National Library of Australia, the National and State Libraries Australasia, the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Eidos Institute.