Research reports, or grey literature as they are also known, are an essential part of many disciplines including public policy. While access to these reports has become easier in many respects, online publishing presents many challenges as well, particularly for collecting organisations.
Reports and documents from government and other organisations have existed for centuries, but in the post-war period their production increased significantly. Computers, databases, desktop publishing software and the internet have revolutionised the way documents can be produced and disseminated, allowing individuals, groups and organisations access to a whole new world of information. The result has been an explosion in online publishing that has transformed scholarly communication. Research reports – or grey literature as they are also known – are now an essential part of many disciplines, including science and technology, health, environmental science and many areas of public policy. While access to these reports has become easier in many respects, online publishing presents many challenges as well, particularly for collecting organisations faced with the task of adapting their systems. The management of grey literature raises many issues that are still not resolved today. This article provides some background to these ongoing challenges in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
This author copy was provided with the kind permission of MIA.