$10K for your STEM papers: our scientific-writing competition expands to all major disciplines

By Nico Jimenez
Update (4/1/2022): We have extended the deadline for this competition to May 1, 2022.
Today, we’re announcing the launch of our second writing competition, which will award $10K to top papers across two categories: research-review papers and tutorials.
Our first writing competition encompassed AI and Machine Learning. In this new competition, authors across disciplines — Math, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Statistics, Economics, and all Computer Science fields — will be able to submit their papers by posting them to Spectra, our new site for independent publishing of STEM papers.

What is Spectra?

Spectra is a new platform for publishing STEM authors’ work.
The aim is to push open a bottleneck that keeps important ideas in research from circulating more widely.
Too often, those with deep and nuanced understanding of state-of-the-art knowledge in STEM fields aren’t incentivized to share their findings. Such experts usually have their hands full with research and development, not to mention academic and professional duties they may be balancing.
It’s not surprising, then, that most authorship outside of peer-review is done in an ad-hoc way by altruistic bloggers, independent scholars, students, and others.
Spectra is a step in bringing all this material together.
With your help, we hope to seed Spectra with some of the best ideas in STEM, and begin reinvesting in the community through contests and awards.

Why are we doing this?

Mathpix itself started as a PhD class project. With the contest and Spectra platform we wanted to invest back in the community — made up of authors, scholars, and researchers like you — that has helped propel our company forward.
Also we have firsthand experience that competitions of this kind are valuable to STEM authors and knowledge-building in general.
Our first writing competition, focused on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, was a success. Knowing that authors in ML needed a new outlet, we opened submissions in March 2021, and were impressed by the quality and quantity of Machine Learning review content submitted. You can read the winning articles, or 'Pix Picks, from our first competition on Spectra now.
With this second competition, we decided to broaden the focus, improve the submission process, and enhance readers’ experience. To do so, we have paired it with the build-out of Spectra and expanded it to all major STEM disciplines.

How do I participate in the competition?

Starting today, you can submit your papers directly to Spectra using Snip Notes, Mathpix’s document editor. All work published to Spectra is automatically eligible, as long as it adheres to the rules mentioned below and the more detailed submission guidelines.
All kinds of papers are welcome on Spectra, but for the competition we are limiting the scope to enable a fair and speedy judging process.
For the contest, only new research-review content and tutorials will be considered for monetary prizes.
In other words, the following will not be considered in the contest:
  • Previously published content will not be eligible
  • Original research requiring peer review will not be eligible for the contest
You will be able to specify the kind of content you are uploading to Spectra during the submission process. Again, we welcome all kinds of submissions for Spectra, but the contest is limited to reviews and tutorials.
Submissions can be made until March 15, 2022 at midnight Pacific Time. Submissions will be shared with judges soon after, and winners will be notified via email within a few weeks. Winners will be announced on Spectra and in our newsletter.
Winners, or 'Pix Picks will be determined by a combination of factors, including but not limited to:
  • Page views
  • Upvotes
  • Social sharing
  • Guest judging by experts in the field
Of course, we will cross-check all content in contention for prizes to ensure authorship and that it meets all the requirements.
This first competition will be followed by others. Each competition will have a $10,000 USD prize pool. Over the course of 2022, we expect to increase our competition prize budget and separate competitions by discipline. For now, all eligible content submitted will be judged together, regardless of field. Once we have a higher volume of content, we will judge each field separately.
To start the prizes will be:
  • $5,000 for first place
  • $3,000 for second place
  • $2,000 for third place
The three top articles will also be featured in the 'Pix Picks section on Spectra, and winning authors will also be awarded a certificate, some Mathpix/Spectra swag, and the opportunity to participate in the Spectra Forum podcast.