Collecting the evidence: Improving access to grey literature and data for public policy and practice

Posted by Amanda Lawrence on 13 November 2015

29 October 2015

Digital collecting of public policy resources such as reports, discussion papers, evaluations and datasets (also known as grey literature) is still very low in Australia and as a result users find it difficult and time consuming to access the research resources they need.

The Internet has profoundly changed how we produce, use and collect research and information for public policy and practice, with grey literature and data playing an increasingly important role. Reports, discussion papers, briefings and many other resources produced and published by organisations, without recourse to the commercial or scholarly publishing industry, are a key part of the evidence used for public policy and practice. Yet finding and accessing this material can be a time-consuming task made harder by poor production and management of resources and the lack of digital collecting services. Even knowing what is being collected and what collections exist is a difficult task. Based on research conducted as part of the Grey Literature Strategies ARC Linkage project, this article reports on the results of online surveys of users, producers and collectors of policy and research information with a particular focus on the results for collecting services. It discusses the state of collecting digital grey literature in Australia and the issues that need to be addressed to maximise the value of this public asset.

The full dataset from the collecting organisations survey is also available from Other data sets will be published in due course.