LitCoin Pilot Design Challenge



First prize

Jonathon Keeney, Ph.D., and Patrick McNeely, Ph.D.
Dr. Jonathon Keeney and his colleague, Dr. Patrick McNeely, detailed an approach to building LitCoin that would integrate seamlessly with current open publishing interfaces, such as bioRxiv, and would allow publishers some freedom to choose how they could be alerted about new LitCoin submissions.

RTI International
RTI International described a system with several unique layers of automation and user interaction that would make the system easy to use for all stakeholders during the process of creating LitCoin publications.

Second prize

Insilicom, LLC
Insilicom, LLC submitted a unique modular approach to the LitCoin conceptual framework. This includes functionality for researchers to publish hypotheses, which currently is lacking in the world of biomedical research.

Key Dates

Note: Dates subject to change as necessary

  • July 29, 2022: Challenge Announcement
  • August 29, 2022, 9:00 AM EDT: Submission window opens
  • October 31, 2022, 5:00 PM EDT: Submissions due
  • December 16, 2022: Prize winners announced


Following on the heels of the LitCoin Natural Language Processing (NLP) Challenge, the LitCoin Pilot Design Challenge seeks to spur innovation by rewarding the most creative and effective plans to construct the LitCoin submission platform. This platform will enable researchers to generate high-quality computationally-accessible knowledge and share it with the greater community, all in line with the mechanism they’re already familiar with, the manuscript publishing pipeline. This ideation challenge is part of a broader conceptual initiative at NCATS to change the “currency” of biomedical research.

This Challenge brings together government, design experts, researchers and publishing houses to spur innovation in the design of an end-to-end LitCoin submission platform for further development of the LitCoin program. The winning solutions will be used to facilitate the design of further funding opportunities to implement the LitCoin Pilot Program. With a two (2) month development cycle of the Challenge, highly diverse and collaborative teams will be challenged to develop a plan for an end-to-end system for implementation of the pilot program.

The Problem

Increasing the accessibility and usability of biomedical knowledge is an important and very difficult goal which NIH has emphasized for years. In order to make strides toward this goal, researchers will need to have the ability to generate computationally-accessible knowledge at the time of publication, as opposed to relying on post-hoc data generation and expensive curation of knowledge by a third party.

To advance the field of biomedical research by utilizing some of the most promising technology solutions built with knowledge graphs, NCATS and its collaborators have launched the LitCoin program. This program aims to 1) help data scientists better deploy their data-driven technology solutions towards accelerating scientific research in medicine, 2) ensure that data from biomedical publications can be maximally leveraged and reaches a wide range of biomedical researchers and drives the impact of the critical problems they aim to solve. To this end, we are launching the LitCoin Pilot Design Challenge.

Challenge Goals

The challenge will spur the creation of innovative strategies for building a system capable of accepting free text describing research findings, running NLP algorithms on that free text to generate knowledge graphs representing these findings, allowing the authors to curate these knowledge graphs, and presenting the authors with similar knowledge assertions extracted from previously-published research when such assertions exist. Finally, authors should have the opportunity to submit their research to specific publisher-partners along with the extracted knowledge graphs, to facilitate the review of both the free text submission and the associated knowledge graph.

For this challenge, participants across academia and the private sector are invited to participate in teams, as representatives of an academic or private entity, or in an individual capacity by designing an end-to-end conceptual plan for the LitCoin submission platform which includes an explanation of the expected user interactions with the server, as well as requirements for the deposition of generated knowledge assertions into the open-access knowledgebase built from these assertions. This design plan should include requirements that ensure compatibility with a myriad of publishers and the submission and review platforms that they utilize. Participants should also include a description of business models that could be implemented for long-term sustainability of the program.


For information about the rules, submission requirements, judging criteria, prizes and how to enter, visit


Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Please send your feedback or question to

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