App Ideas Announced – Develop One for the Binary Battle!

(Cross-posted from the Official PLoS Blog)

Just eight days after announcing our call for App ideas, we received over 70 top-rate suggestions for scientific and medical apps from our community. Many addressed issues already important to PLoS—post-publication peer review and contextualizing and filtering research for a variety of disciplines. Others submitted ideas that were just plain cool but outside of the scope of the Binary Battle competition.

Now we are passing these ideas along to members of the developer community, who have the coding skills to bring them to life.

Below, we have broken these ideas into two groups:

  • Ideas that can use the PLoS or Mendeley APIs and can be entered into the Binary Battle competition
  • Cool ideas that don’t use the PLoS or Mendeley APIs (and are therefore outside of the scope of this competition) but you might want to tinker with anyway.

Selected Binary Battle-eligible ideas include:

  • An app for displaying the impact of diverse research outputs on your CV or website. For example, how many blogs have written about your paper, how often have your datasets been mentioned in scientific lit, etc. An existing app that does just that, called Total Impact but it needs to be taken from prototype to full-fledged app. More info here and here. Suggested by Heather Piwowar: hpiwowar(at)gmail(dot)com or total-impact(at)googlegroups(dot)com
  • Create an easily embeddable, dynamically-updating list of PLoS or Mendeley papers from a particular lab or institution that researchers can put on their websites. Suggested by Sébastien M. Crouze:  seb(dot)crouzet(at)gmail(dot)com
  • From a bunch of papers, recursively extract all the references they contain and establish a ranking of the most cited papers. It will help to found “must read” papers from a certain website, subject area, author(s), or institutions. Suggested by anonymous.
  • Search papers in Mendeley or PLoS based on geography or genes. Suggested by Sjurdur Hammer:  sjurdur(at)hotmail(dot)com and anonymous, respectively
  • A tool that will automatically export illustrations and figures (as well as their attributions and CC licenses) from PLoS papers to the Wikimedia Commons. Suggested by anonymous.
  • More ideas here

Other cool ideas

  • A searchable directory that could collate grant/funding opportunities from across all Federal, State and Foundation entities that are currently silo-ed into individual, closed databases on individual websites. This master databank should then be sortable by field, interest area, investigators (e.g. young investigators, tenure-track faculty, postdoc, etc.), funding amount, etc. Suggested by Llewellyn Cox, PhD:  llewellc(at)usc(dot)edu
  • A citizen science measurement app (like NYC Cricket Crawl) via GPS, photo, video, audio recording that sends data in standardized format. Suggested by mik3cap.
  • An app for identifying bat species from the sounds they make. You would hold up the smartphone and it would record a sound and then give you a species identification on the phone. Suggested by Dr. Kate Jones: kate(dot)jones(at)ioz(dot)ac(dot)uk
  • An educational App which finds the most recent common ancestor between any two species on the planet. Suggested by aulridgejr(at)gmail(dot)com
  • More ideas here

To sign up to develop an idea or request an API key from PLoS, fill out this form. We encourage you to work with other devs who share an interest in the idea you choose, and also to contact the scientist who conceived of the idea, should you seek more input or wish to invite them to collaborate.

Finished apps for the Binary Battle competition must be received by September 30th. Tim O’Reilly looks forward to seeing your creations – happy coding!

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