If you can deal with metadata only (i.e. without publication record), arXiv is a wonderful data to start with. They have an AIP, but what you want to use is the Open Archive Initiative API, see my post (and answer): Getting a dump of arXiv metadata. In particular, you get self-reported publication data (journal, DOI).
For an even more relevant dataset, American Physics Society (Physical Review) has an established route for sharing data: http://journals.aps.org/datasets:
[...] Requests will be quickly reviewed and, if approved, the data will be made available for download after accepting the terms and conditions below. [...]
The corpus of Physical Review Letters, Physical Review, and Reviews of Modern Physics is comprised of over 450,000 articles and dates back to 1893. [...]
1) Citing article pairs: This data set consists of pairs of APS articles that cite each other. For instance, if article A cites article B, there will be an entry in the data set consisting of the pair of DOIs for A and B. This data set will be formatted as a comma-separated values (CSV) file consisting of the DOI pairs, one pair per line.
2) Article metadata: This data set consists of the basic metadata of all APS journal articles. The metadata provided includes the following fields: DOI, journal, volume, issue, first page and last page OR article id and number of pages, title, authors, affiliations, publication history, PACS codes, table of contents heading, article type, and copyright information.
I don't know if a class project counts, but it may be worth trying.