Hunting down grey literature: finding theses

I was talking to a student recently about locating other peoples’ theses.

Yesterday, I was looking at the OpenDOAR website. Some electronic theses (often more recent ones) can be found in repositories. There is a list of UK repositories mainly from Universities including the City University London one City Research Online (CRO)
There is a Google search box and I searched for a specific item in CRO and it did find it. Searching in CRO itself, there is an option to limit the search by theses.

Another option is the Ethos service from the British Library
This works well when someone has already requested the dissertation and it is available for immediate download.

Index to Theses should indicate where a thesis is held and it may be available in a university repository or via Ethos. Sometimes, it may be necessary to visit the Library concerned.

Proquest Dissertations & Theses
is a comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world offering full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997.


Open access publishing

Open access (OA) refers to access to publications made available without constraints such as payment or passwords.

Open access publication can mean different charging models sometimes called author pays. The costs are more often covered by the research funding body (such as Wellcome Trust) or the author’s institution.

•Some journals are totally open access
•Some journals are ‘hybrid’ open access (some free articles and some by subscription only)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides a useful list of Open access journals.

OpenDOAR provides a list of open access repositories.

There are 2 open access routes: Green and gold.


Deposit a copy of the item in an open access archive such as a University repository such as City Research Online. Some authors place their work in a subject repository such as REPEC.


Articles can be published in:

An open access journal or a journal that offers an open access option. A fee is usually payable (often paid for by the author’s institution or funding body)