Mendeley, the service that tracks and ranks academic papers in the same way that Last.fm does music, is holding a $10,001 ‘Battle’ to encourage developers to make use of its API.

The API, launched last year, allows coders to make use of what the London-based startup is calling “The world’s largest crowdsourced research database”. With all that academic data available, there’s real potential for some interesting projects.

Announcing the contest, Mendeley writes: “We want to see a world in which science is mashed up… with anything. Science can benefit everyone, but it needs the support of the tech community to make it happen.” Apps created so far using the API include Twendeley (to recommend academic papers based on the contents of your friends’ tweets) and a WordPress plugin that can automatically add academic citations to blog posts.

The contest will be judged by some big names: Tim O’Reilly, Werner Vogels (CTO Amazon.com), John Wilbanks (VP Science at Creative Commons), Juan Enriquez (Founding Director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School) and James Powell (CTO Thomson Reuters). In addition to the $10,001 top prize (why the extra dollar? Mendeley’s calling this an ‘API Binary Battle’ – it’s a coder thing), a runner-up prize of $1000 is also on offer.

The deadline for entering is 31 August. You can find full details here.