Tell us about your ideal science app & we'll get someone to build it.

Research is hard enough without having to deal with crappy software and programs that don’t talk to one another. Part of the problem is that many people who write great code aren’t scientists, so they don’t know what scientists need. We’d like to solve that problem, so we’ve teamed up with the Public Library of Science to issue a “Call for Apps“.

If you have a great idea for a scientific app but lack the coding skills to develop it, you’re in luck! Submit your app idea by August 10th (12pm PDT) and we’ll present it to developers who have the skills to make your dream a reality using the PLoS and Mendeley APIs, which are rich sources of data on scientific trends and stats.

Here are some ideas:

What’s the thing you wish someone would make an app for? We’ve got the data, you’ve got the idea, and chances are there’s someone who wants to bring your idea to life, if they only knew what you needed.

How To Submit Your App Idea:

  • Complete the Binary Battle App Idea Submission form
  • Leave a comment on this blog post with your ideas
  • or just tweet your idea using the #binarybattle hashtag

If you’re a developer, you may wish to enter your completed app in the Binary Battle.

15 thoughts on “Tell us about your ideal science app & we'll get someone to build it.

  1. Hey, cool stuff, but will you also allow developers to “apply” for an idea if they like it, or whats your plan for idea->developer distribution? 🙂


  2. Since the PLoS blog states that the app should make “science more open”, does this mean that the apps will be open-source, or again, following Mendeley’s footsteps, “open” means “closed source but freely available”? I hope the former.

  3. Because the Mendeley and PLoS datasets are freely licensed, the individual app developer can choose the license terms that work for them, but we do encourage people to release their work under similarly open licenses.

  4. Martin – Once we’ve collected all the ideas, we’ll be presenting them to the developer community. Do you have a good idea for distribution and can you help get the word out?

  5. Hamid – I believe there’s a developer working on a barcode reader app that will do this, but not sure how it would work with just a piece of text. Did you have a specific idea on how to do this?

  6. Hi! I have a quesiton that is somewhat related to the topic of this post, so I hope you’ll be able to help me. In many places, including Mendeley youtube videos and some “Getting started” documents present at Mendeley web-site, it is (or was?) advertised as a “lastfm for researchers”, with “recommendations of new papers based on your existing library” as a main feature. However now I can’t find any “recommendations based on my library” nor on the site, neither in the desktop application. Was this feature disabled? And if yes – then is there any hope that it will be enabled in the future? Thank you!

  7. Arseny – As Robert said on the feedback forum, personalized recommendations are an experimental feature that we’re currently testing with a limited number of users. If you’d like to see them, you can sign up for either the Solar System or Milky Way packages at or sign up for the Mendeley Advisor program at and we’ll put you in the test group.

  8. Thank you for your response! I have send a request for the Advisor program. I hope the social aspects of the suite, such as the “recommended articles” functionality, can be brought to the base set of features eventually. I think that’s one of the most interesting features you can actually offer! So if I can somehow help it to come live out of testing phase – I’d be happy to.

  9. An App in the website that show the universities or study-centers actually working on some specific problem and the possible relationship between them and universities of some country, i mean, possibility of scholarships or something like that.

  10. Hey William,

    Sounds cool. It’s a real pity though that you don’t seem to be getting more responses.. I hope people are not being secretive with their ideas trying to come up with something in their own basements without the community’s help..

    And you’ve already tried disseminating this on your blog and on facebook.. The only other two things I can think of is make some more mainstream blogs (no offense) talk about your API challenge and maybe tap into some scientific mailing lists..

    Hope you get some good ideas 🙂


  11. Thanks, Martin. We’ve gotten about 50 entries so far in our sheet, which is really great, but we would love to have ten times that amount. Can you help by re-sharing this post?

  12. 1. Similar to david (aug 5): An app or webservice that analyses the content of your Meldeley library to supply you with personalised recomendations for funding calls / grants etc as well as upcoming conferences.

    2. A mind-mapping / outlining tool that integrates with your Mendeley library via Mendeley API to add references to mind-maps etc, view metadata and Mendeley notes, and to launch Mendeley desktop by clicking on citations. SciPlore is part-way there (and perhaps a starting point) but accesses Mendeley references via synchronised bibtex file, not directly via API.

  13. I just came by this post and would like to submit an idea. Is it still possible? The form doesn’t seem to be open anymore.

    – Ole

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