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The Datalab Open Manifesto

Better Data for the NHS🔗

Operational research is key to understanding what works in the NHS. However the methods and code used to carry out this research are rarely seen in public. Standards are variable. One-off point-and-click analytics are common. This living document aims to start a discussion about best practice for research and analysis using NHS data. Send us your feedback! ebmdatalab@phc.ox.ac.uk

Publish everything🔗

  • Share your methods and code, so other teams can review it and learn.
  • Permit other people to re-use your code and content.
  • Publish imperfect code fearlessly.
  • Work in public from the start where possible.

Make collaboration easy🔗

  • Use Jupyter notebooks or R Markdown to tell a story for generalists and analysts.
  • Do the hard work to make it easy for others to run the code.
  • Use code comments to inform a technical audience.
  • Document key decisions alongside your code.
  • Maintain a single repository for each project, with a README.
  • Develop a supportive culture.

Automate tasks with code where possible🔗

  • Use scripts, not point-and-click tools.
  • Make live dashboards rather than occasional reports.
  • Turn recurring work into libraries and share them.

Use coders' best practice🔗

  • Do regular code reviews.
  • Use version control.
  • Write tests for your code.
  • Help develop and follow local conventions around coding.