In this month’s review of published papers, the Early Career Committee considered dozens of articles made open access this month. They were ranked against core pillars of the HDR UK ethos: research quality, team science, scale, open science, patient and public involvement, and equality, diversity and inclusion. This month’s winning publication was “UK phenomics platform for developing and validating electronic health record phenotypes: CALIBER”, led by HDR UK member Spiros Denaxas.

The purpose of the work presented by Denaxas et al was to construct a better way of curating coding systems to allow the outputs to be more easily standardised and reproduced to improve research. This work is important because electronic health records offer a rich source of information on the diseases and the potential to improve the lives of patients in the future. However, currently the information is variably structured, fragmented, coded and collected for purposes other than medical research, which creates problems for doing high quality reproducible research. The Denaxas et al paper presents the development, validating, and sharing of these reproducible healthcare traits. Denaxas et al created algorithms for 51 diseases, syndromes, biomarkers, and lifestyle risk factors and presented up to 6 validation approaches. The EHR phenotypes are curated in the open-access CALIBER Portal ( and have been used by 40 national and international research groups in 60 peer-reviewed publications.

This work has great potential to improve the way electronic health record are employed for the benefit of patients. This will be achieved by the framework being employed on other projects in the future to allow far greater reproducibility to be achieved.

The committee scored this paper highly in several areas. The paper scored very well in team science due to its inclusion of experts from across the United Kingdom. The scale and open science criteria were also considered to be very strong, due to the large number of codes utilised and the accessibility of the results had been considered from an early stage of the work. The impact of this work on patients has the potential to be large as it can assist in improving the reproducibility of the work carried out.

HDR UK’s Early Career Committee would like to congratulate and commend this team for their contribution to HDR UK’s vision of uniting the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives.

Read the full paper