There are over 20 million articles indexed in PubMed, and and roughly one article published every THIRTY seconds, biomedical literature represents an exciting and challenging big data issue. Coupled with the fact that most articles contain a lot of important but unstructured data, and that natural language processing is a challenging computational problem; our lab is researching a citizen science approach to dealing with this issue.

Mark2Cure is a web-based citizen science app which will enable non-scientists to help annotate biomedical literature. This will enable the creation of a biomedical literature-based knowledgebase that is crucial for the development of text mining programs and algorithms. As a citizen science project, Mark2Cure has several goals:

  • To engage the non-scientific community (especially patient communities) and encourage their interaction with genuine scientific literature. We hope that repeated positive interactions with genuine scientific text will reduce a non-scientist’s reluctance to investigate primary scientific resources. In this manner, we hope to empower patient communities to more effectively engage in discourse with their medical providers.
  • To build a garden of biomedical knowledge. Everything in the biomedical sciences is incredibly interrelated; however, many of the links and relationships are unknown due to lack of sufficient cross-domain expertise. By annotating all biomedical literature (the ultimate goal) we hope to create a continuously updated knowledgebase that will accelerate research.
  • To build tools for mining biomedical literature-based knowledgebases. Because a knowledgebase built from a large volume of biomedical literature does not exist, it is difficult for researchers to build the tools needed to utilize or build upon such a knowledgebase.

Mark2Cure relies heavily on volunteer efforts. To contribute our expertise to help us develop Mark2Cure, please visit our Volunteers forum.

To join Mark2Cure as a citizen science participant and help annotate biomedical literature, please visit

As a rather ambitious project, Mark2Cure is currently being developed in phases. To learn more, visit the Mark2Cure blog.


3rd Big Data in Biomedicine conference. 2015.05.21

Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science meeting on Games. 2015.03.26

Future of Genomic Medicine conference. 2015.03.05

Pacific Symposium in Biocomputing. 2015.01.04