Grey Literature Search Recorder
Grey literature is defined as “that 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, i.e., where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body”. It includes both academic research that did not make it through publication and other research not intended for publication in academic journals. Systematic reviews and maps should include substantial efforts to identify and include relevant grey literature. This aims to mitigate the risk of publication bias, and maximise comprehensiveness by including all relevant research. Grey literature can be particularly important in systematic reviews, evidenced by a review published in 2015 in which over 40% of the final 124 studies were grey literature. Guidance from the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) relating to grey literature recommends that reviewers search for grey literature in a number of ways, including: 1) searches of bibliographic databases that catalogue such documents, for example Aquatic Sciences & Fisheries Abstracts and OpenGrey; 2) searches of thesis and dissertation repositories, such as the British Library EThOS database; 3) screening websites and publication lists of relevant organisations, such as the World Bank; 4) searches of the internet, for example using Google Scholar; 5) via calls to contacts and networks for submission of relevant evidence. Other coordinating bodies, such as Cochrane, suggest also searching trial registries, preprint servers and repositories of registered reports. In recent years, technology to support the identification and extraction of grey literature and related information from the internet have been identified, for example web scraping tools. However, these tools are generally not often used in evidence syntheses; perhaps because of a lack of awareness, restrictive subscription fees, or difficulties in using them. In addition, the development of social media and resources like Google Scholar have made searching for and calling for submission of grey literature easier. However, at present, conducting and reporting grey literature searches is one of the least transparent and repeatable processes within a systematic review, in great part because of the challenge in recording the iterative and exploratory searches involved. The Grev Literature Search Recorder is a novel tool developed specifically for recording and reporting web-based grey literature searches, and reusing the outputs in the synthesis. The tool was developed at the second Evidence Synthesis Hackathon (ESH, www.eshackathon.org) held in Canberra in April 2019, and conforms to the mission of the ESH, in that it is an Open Source tool that is free-to-use. The aims of the tool are to: - Increase the transparency of grey literature searches by allowing users to easily document their web-based searches in detail - Increase efficiency of grey literature searching by allowing users to export their web-based search results in formats that can be readily integrated into existing review management tools - Facilitate the replication and updating of grey literature searches, by allowing search results to be archived and reused by subsequent users Specifically, the tool aims to allow users to download search results or lists of documents from websites at once in a standard format, without the need for time-consuming transcription. It records the search terms used, the user's browser version and OS version. The URL, date and time are all recorded to ensure that as much information is recorded of the session to allow it to be repeated by others ensuring better science.