The continually expanding distributed global compendium of biomedical knowledge is diffuse, heterogeneous and huge, posing a serious challenge for biomedical researchers in knowledge harvesting: accessing, compiling, integrating and interpreting data, information and knowledge. In order to accelerate research towards effective medical treatments and optimizing health, it is critical that efficient and automated tools for identifying key research concepts and their experimentally discovered interrelationships are developed. As an activity within the feasibility phase of a project called "Translator" (https://ncats.nih.gov/translator) funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to develop a biomedical science knowledge management platform, we designed a Representational State Transfer (REST) web services Application Programming Interface (API) specification, which we call a Knowledge Beacon. Knowledge Beacons provide a standardized basic API for the discovery of concepts, their relationships and associated supporting evidence from distributed online repositories of biomedical knowledge. This specification also enforces the annotation of knowledge concepts and statements to the NCATS endorsed the Biolink Model data model and semantic encoding standards (https://biolink.github.io/biolink-model/). Implementation of this API on top of diverse knowledge sources potentially enables their uniform integration behind client software which will facilitate research access and integration of biomedical knowledge. Availability The API and associated software is open source and currently available for access at https://github.com/NCATS-Tangerine/translator-knowledge-beacon.