Open access, public policy and the value of grey literature: OA week seminar

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12.30 - 2.00pm Thursday 23 October 2014
Penang Conference room, Level 3, Swinburne University of Technology Library, John St Hawthorn

Digital technologies have radically increased our capacity to produce and disseminate research and information and many organisations including government departments and agencies, academic centres, NGOs, lobby groups and companies are now engaged in the production, use and curation of digital resources (grey literature). The result has been an explosion in online publishing, not just for academic publishers and journals, but for all kinds of documents - reports, discussion papers, data and statistics, reviews and information guides produced by a wide range of organisations. This is transforming how the community is able to access research and information, particularly for public policy and public interest issues, and is a key part of the changing information ecosystem.

A great deal of this information is made available for free online and, we would argue, is open access. However grey literature is often not included in discussions about open access as this is often defined as being about access to journals and books. There is still little understanding of the role and value of grey literature, especially in public policy, and with the explosion in digital publishing there is a lack appropriate infrastructure, policies and procedures, copyright legislation and resources to adequately manage and provide ongoing access to it. In this presentation we will explore the role played by grey literature in public policy research and practice based on the results of a 3-year research project supported by the Australian Research Council. As part of this project we have undertaken online surveys and interviews with users, producers and collectors of research and information. The evidence supports the conclusion that open access digital grey literature plays a a vital role in the policy and research environment, equal or greater than that of journals and books, but that its production, collection and preservation is inadequate, resulting in poor productivity, the loss or duplication of costly research and reduced social benefit.

Grey Literature Strategies is supported by an Australian Research Council ARC Linkage grant and is being undertaken by Swinburne University of Technology and Victoria University in partnership with the National Library of Australia, the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Eidos Institute.

Presenters: Prof Julian Thomas, Director Swinburne Institute for Social Research and Amanda Lawrence, Research manager, Grey Literature Strategies research project and Policy Online, Swinburne University of Technology.

Part of a series of events for open access week (20-24 October) presented by Swinburne University Library and Policy Online. The Library is located on the Lilydale/Alamein/Blackburn line just 5 minutes walk from Glenferrie Train Station. A map of the campus is available here: