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Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health: critical reflections on three case studies

Overview of attention for article published in Systematic Reviews, September 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#40 of 1,921)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
4 news outlets
blogs
1 blog
twitter
82 tweeters
facebook
1 Facebook page

Citations

dimensions_citation
211 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
492 Mendeley
citeulike
4 CiteULike
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Title
Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health: critical reflections on three case studies
Published in
Systematic Reviews, September 2016
DOI 10.1186/s13643-016-0337-y
Pubmed ID
Authors

Jean Adams, Frances C. Hillier-Brown, Helen J. Moore, Amelia A. Lake, Vera Araujo-Soares, Martin White, Carolyn Summerbell

Abstract

Grey literature includes a range of documents not controlled by commercial publishing organisations. This means that grey literature can be difficult to search and retrieve for evidence synthesis. Much knowledge and evidence in public health, and other fields, accumulates from innovation in practice. This knowledge may not even be of sufficient formality to meet the definition of grey literature. We term this knowledge 'grey information'. Grey information may be even harder to search for and retrieve than grey literature. On three previous occasions, we have attempted to systematically search for and synthesise public health grey literature and information-both to summarise the extent and nature of particular classes of interventions and to synthesise results of evaluations. Here, we briefly describe these three 'case studies' but focus on our post hoc critical reflections on searching for and synthesising grey literature and information garnered from our experiences of these case studies. We believe these reflections will be useful to future researchers working in this area. Issues discussed include search methods, searching efficiency, replicability of searches, data management, data extraction, assessing study 'quality', data synthesis, time and resources, and differentiating evidence synthesis from primary research. Information on applied public health research questions relating to the nature and range of public health interventions, as well as many evaluations of these interventions, may be predominantly, or only, held in grey literature and grey information. Evidence syntheses on these topics need, therefore, to embrace grey literature and information. Many typical systematic review methods for searching, appraising, managing, and synthesising the evidence base can be adapted for use with grey literature and information. Evidence synthesisers should carefully consider the opportunities and problems offered by including grey literature and information. Enhanced incentives for accurate recording and further methodological developments in retrieval will facilitate future syntheses of grey literature and information.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 82 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 492 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Norway 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Unknown 488 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 105 21%
Student > Ph. D. Student 68 14%
Researcher 54 11%
Student > Bachelor 39 8%
Librarian 23 5%
Other 87 18%
Unknown 116 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Nursing and Health Professions 79 16%
Medicine and Dentistry 78 16%
Social Sciences 63 13%
Psychology 23 5%
Computer Science 15 3%
Other 97 20%
Unknown 137 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 84. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 September 2022.
All research outputs
#404,734
of 22,046,823 outputs
Outputs from Systematic Reviews
#40
of 1,921 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#9,012
of 292,646 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Systematic Reviews
#1
of 10 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,046,823 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,921 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 12.5. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 292,646 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 10 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them