Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Seventh International Conference on Grey Literature

On December 5-6, 2005, the Seventh International Conference on Grey Literature took place in Nancy, France. This year's theme was "Open Access to Grey Resources." The conference program and schedule are available online.

In the print environment, grey literature is material that is, "Produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers." This definition was produced by the Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature, in 1999. The New York Academy of Medicine has developed an introduction to grey literature, and produces a quarterly Grey Literature Report.

The traditional barrier to access for grey literature is that it can be difficult to identify; oftentimes these materials are available at no charge to people who know about them. The barrier to electronic peer-reviewed scientific articles, in recent years, has been cost. They are easy to identify but can be hard to obtain, which is a principal reason why the open access movement has developed.

In the electronic world, much grey literature is available online but is still not readily accessible by searching standard databases. This conference explored the convergence between the open access movement and the movement to increase awareness of grey literature in the electronic age. The spring 2006 issue of The Grey Journal will feature a statement about the open access movement, for which I will serve as a reviewer. We are living in an exciting time in which the primary goal is increasing access to all types of resources, grey and non-grey alike.

1 comment:

Dean Giustini said...

Marcus and fellow OA librarians,

Congratulations on your blog. I will be very interested in hearing your views about its direction in the next 6-8 months. I've been blogging for about 8 months now, and very recently I decided to change the subtitle to my blog and my focus a bit to include librarians and physicians (my area of interest is Google Scholar, but not in and of itself; more as a lightning rod for discussion of information retrieval in medicine generally).

It seems to be that there are at least three trends that are converging (or that will converge) in the years ahead: digitization, open access and the linkage between content and search. With respect to medicine, my sense is that real benefits to human health are to be had internationally if we were successful at making the best evidence available to all, including developing countries. Best evidence for the systematic review and meta-analysis means retrieving the grey literature, for example, to "round out" the scientific perspectives.

Again, this is where freely-accessible, open and easily searchable environments ("covergence") will be important in the year(s) ahead. It's what John Willinsky calls in his new book "The Access Principle". The three aspects of "access" need to work together.

Thanks for the grey literature report.

Holiday greetings from Canada,

Dean Giustini
UBC Google Scholar blogger