On the Grey Literature Day & the Pisa Declaration


Grey Literature Day is annually commemorated on May 16th. This is a day on which the International Grey Literature Community “seeks to manifest its presence and responsibility for a wealth of diverse document types both in print and electronic formats that may appear less visible but are often the basis for research and development for science and the public good. Grey Literature Day is celebrated by multiple stakeholders responsible for both the supply and demand sides of these valued assets” (quote from the GreyLit Network Announcement).

Grey Literature Day likewise celebrates the signing of the “Pisa Declaration on Policy Development for Grey Literature Resources” which was published on May 16, 2014 and is currently translated into more than 15 languages worldwide. The Pisa Declaration provides a roadmap for this field of information and library science that has been charted over the past couple of decades and which is intent on guiding grey literature communities well into this century.

I am personally happy to be among the signatories of the Pisa Declaration (as an individual but of course on behalf of Agro-Know) as well as to provide the Greek translation of the Declaration (so I would be the one to blame for a bad translation). If you would like to support this initiative, you can also sign the declaration in less than 2 minutes by completing a simple online form 🙂

What is Grey Literature?

According to Wikipedia, Grey literature is generally defined as “academic literature that is not formally published. It is an expanding field in library and information science that deals with the supply and demand side of publications not controlled by commercial publishing“. During the 4th International Conference on Grey Literature, it was defined asThat which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers.”

Examples of grey literature include patents, technical reports from government agencies or scientific research groups, working papers from research groups or committees, white papers, and preprints. It is obvious that Grey Literature can potentially be an important source of information for researchers, especially in case where it is original and recent, just like any other source of research information.

Why would a SME like Agro-Know be interested in signing the Pisa Declaration for Grey Literature?

As you may already know, through a strategic partnership with the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the ARIADNE Foundation, Agro-Know is hosting the Data Processing Unit of the traditional AGRIS service – a global information system collecting and making accessible bibliography on agricultural science and technology. In this context, we would be more than interested in including repositories with grey literature on topics related to agriculture, food and environment in the huge AGRIS database, and combine such data with related data that already exists on these topics. In this way we hope that we will maximize the reach and efficiency of grey literature, while at the same time help researchers enhance the type and increase the number of resources that they already access.


About GreyGuide

GreyGuide – Guide to Good Practice in Grey Literature“, is a community-driven open resource project that aims to develop an open source repository of good practices in the field of grey literature. The repository will contain guidelines such as those in handling theses and dissertations, how to write research reports, metadata required for working papers as well as good practices in the subject areas of agriculture, health, education, energy, environment, etc.

The project team consists of:

  • Stefania Biagioni and Carlo Carlesi (ISTI-CNR, Italy)
  • Joachim Schopfel (University of Lille, France)
  • Dominic Farace and Jerry Frantzen (GreyNet International, Netherlands)

About GreyNet International

GreyNet_Logo_with_straplineGreyNet International is a network service dedicated to Research, Publication, Open Access, and Education in the field of Grey Literature. It consists of a number of institutional members from all over the world, including the following:

  • Data Archiving and Networked Services, DANS (Netherlands)
  • Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, KISTI (South Korea)
  • Nuclear Information Section of the International Atomic Energy Agency, NIS-IAEA (Austria)
  • Institute of Information Science and Technologies, ISTI-CNR (Italy)
  • Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information, CVTISR (Slovak Republic)
  • EBSCO Publishing (USA)
  • FEDLINK, Library of Congress (USA)
  • Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Inist-CNRS (France)
  • New York Academy of Medicine, NYAM (USA)
  • National Library of Technology, NTK (Czech Republic)

You can also contribute to the GreyNet’s activities by joining the LinkedIn Group of the initiative and following GreyNet on Twitter.

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