Concept Dictionaries

Concept dictionaries are used in many data linkage centres to maintain standardized information about the conceptual and operational definitions of commonly-used population-based measures. These entries are essential tools to ensure scientific transparency, and consistency of measures over time and across the multiple researchers who may use them.

Concept dictionary entries often document measurement decisions and alternative ways that a concept may be operationalized. It is common for concept dictionary entries to include computer code to implement the operational definition, and citations of relevant literature that led to the formation of the concept dictionary entry. Concept dictionaries enable sharing of ideas about measurement across data linkage centres, encourage collaboration and research efficiency, and benefit systematic inquiry.

Invitation to submit an entry

We invite you to submit a concept dictionary entry for consideration in this special issue. Is there a measure that your team would like to share with others that you feel can advance the population data science field?

We are particularly interested in concepts that focus on measurement of health and social outcomes and the social determinants of health. Examples include health disparity, income level, educational attainment, ethnicity/population origin.

Your concept submission should have the following components:

  • a descriptive title
  • abstract of no more than 150 words that briefly describes the rationale for the concept, its definition, and an example of its application
  • data sources, steps to operationalize the measure, and information about the scale or range of values for the operational definition
  • concept validation results
  • information about alternative approaches to operationalize the concept and rationale (if applicable) for these alternatives
  • link to a Github repository where your computer code is stored (
  • references (limit: 10).

Submissions should be no more than 1500 words, exclusive of title, abstract, references, and Github link information.

All submissions will be peer reviewed by a panel of experts. The criteria for review will include relevance to the field of Population Data Science, novelty, clarity of the operational definition, and rigour and clarity of the validation process.

The article processing charge (APC) for submissions to this special issue is £713.00.

How to Submit: Please submit all manuscripts via the IJPDS website. If you’re unsure if your manuscript is appropriate for the call, or if you have any other queries about the special issue, please email us: