Products, Issue 7 March 2011

Springer API Challenge 1.0

Springer has launched a new competition for original, non-commercial applications using Springer metadata and content APIs. Called the Springer API Challenge 1.0, the competition invites users to create new ways of finding, visualising and manipulating data drawn from Springer’s large and growing content database.

 For readers who may not be familiar with APIs, an Application Programming Interface (API) is a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources provided by another software program. The API allows these programs to “talk” to each other by acting as an interface between them and facilitating their interaction in a similar manner to the way user interfaces facilitate interaction between humans and computers.

The Springer API Challenge 1.0 was launched in response to the increased need to open up Springer data to third parties in the interest of product development. Participants have full access to metadata for more than 4.8 million documents from Springer journals, books and protocols alongside full text content, metadata and images for approximately 80,000 open access articles from BioMed Central and SpringerOpen journals.

This is a fantastic opportunity for students and professionals alike to test the depth of their programming knowledge and practical skill at the same time as providing the scientific community with new and exciting methods of manipulating data. What’s more, cash prizes of US$5,000, US$2,500 and US$1,000 are available and will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners, respectively.

To take part in this challenge, all you need to do is register for a user account and apply to Springer for an API key. Further information on how to enter the challenge can be found at API Portal, including the official rules and terms of use.

API Portal

Completed applications must be submitted via email to

and must include a brief description of the application and relevant contact information. All entries will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary panel of experts and will be judged on creativity and originality, user experience and design, and value and benefit.

Deadline for entries is 31 May 2011 and the winners will be announced in June 2011. All applications will be made freely available to end users for at least one year after the Challenge concludes.