Gray literature

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As gray literature , occasionally gray materials are referred to in the library science privately printed, company publications, congress reports, academic journals and other publications that are issued in electronic or printed form, not by commercial publishing are controlled beings and not in the book trade are available. Private prints are made for and at the expense of private individuals without commercial intent. The edition is often very small.

German titles are published in Germany in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie , series B. Internet publications are not completely covered by the German National Bibliography.

Gray literature in research

Many scientific papers remain unpublished and are only available directly from the relevant institutes. Reasons for this can be that minimum scientific requirements (e.g. statistical significance , appropriateness of the methodology, quality of the presentation) are not achieved or that the content of the work pursues ideological ideas and cannot find a publisher.

If you want to get an overview of the state of research on a topic, you often use so - called meta - analyzes and overview works ( review articles ). In meta-analyzes, several statistics with smaller samples are combined to form a large sample and the results are averaged. In the case of an overview, several research papers are grouped together on one topic. Here, however, the work is not processed statistically, but related to each other and discussed in terms of content.

If only published work is included in meta-analyzes and reviews, the scientific results on a subject area may appear more consistent than they actually are. In the extreme, nonexistent intergroup differences or observed relationships may only have been observed by chance, while studies in which nothing of the kind could be observed were never published. For observations that can actually be explained by chance, a correlation would then be incorrectly determined and possibly even a wrong causal connection derived. If some unpopular opinions are not given a voice through censorship, the impression of unanimity is mistakenly created, since differences of opinion are not taken into account.

This false impression is known as publication bias . In order to counteract a possible publication bias, unpublished works should be included. “The result of a meta-analysis naturally depends on the selection of the primary examinations involved”. The same applies analogously to reviews.

In addition, writings that do not meet scientific requirements (and may not want to make any scientific claims at all) can be relevant for research if they contain information that is not published anywhere else or was only accessible to the author. This can e.g. B. be the case with family history treatises if the author could fall back on material in private hands.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gray Literature International Steering Committee: Guidelines for Compiling Scientific and Technical Reports: Writing and Disseminating Gray Literature. (PDF) 2007, p. 1 , accessed on September 27, 2018 .
  2. ^ Helmut Hiller, Stephan Füssel: Dictionary of the book . 7th edition. Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-465-03495-7 , pp. 146, 258-259 .
  3. ^ Jürgen Bortz, Nicola Döring: Research methods and evaluation. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg 2006, p. 674 ( limited preview in the Google book search).