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OSS Leftovers and Open Access

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  • Google Chrome’s Ad Blocking Feature to Roll Out Worldwide on July 9

    Google has made an announcement that it is expanding its ad blocking feature in Chrome browser to the whole world starting July 9. The initiative of Ad-blocking was introduced with Chrome version 71 back in December in collaboration with the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA), which is an organization that works for the interests of the users of the internet and designs guidelines for ads to be shown on web pages.

    The initiative of optimizing ads for the consumers had begun with U.S., Canada, and Europe earlier. Now the CBA is planning to improve the user experience on the internet worldwide by expanding its Better Ads Standards to all countries and Google is complying with them. From July 2019, Chrome will filter these 12 types of ads that cause an intrusive experience for the users. These include pop up ads and ads with autoplay videos.

  • Google Chrome Labs releases online and open source Etch-A-Sketch clone, Web-A-Skeb

    Web-A-Skeb works well in all major browsers, not just Chrome, including desktop and mobile, (and can even be installed as a progressive web app). It will certainly be a fun time waster for me for a few days. Interested web developers can check out the Web-A-Skeb source code on GitHub.

  • The Future Of Open Source Software: More Of Everything

    We have been awash in predictions for weeks now. That’s what we do every time the calendar completes another trip around the sun.

    And in most cases, as the year wears on and reality doesn’t always conform to the forecasts, that line from Yogi Berra (if he didn’t actually say it, who cares?) gets more and more relevant: Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

    But when it comes to the future of open source software, given the trend lines of the past few years, it seems pretty safe to say that a single word – more – will be present in just about everything that happens in 2019.

  • Peer-reviewed physics for Wikipedia: PLOS ONE Topic Pages

    Wikipedia pages on physics have a huge impact. The numbers speak for themselves. The page “Quantum computing” is viewed in excess of 3,000 times every day. “Nanotechnology” is viewed in excess of 2,000 times per day. Even a topic like “Monte Carlo method” is viewed 2,000 times per day. I could teach every semester for my entire lifetime and not reach as many students as these Wikipedia pages reach in a single day.

    Science Wikipedia pages aren’t just for non-experts. Physicists – researchers, professors, and students – use Wikipedia daily. When I need the transition temperature for a Bose-Einstein condensate (prefactor and all), or when I want to learn about the details of an unfamiliar quantum algorithm, Wikipedia is my first stop. When a graduate student sends me research notes that rely on unfamiliar algebraic structures, they reference Wikipedia. The influence on academics is even directly apparent in their publications: Language from Wikipedia articles has been found to influence the language of academic papers after just a couple years.

  • PLOS ONE Topic Pages: Peer-Reviewed Articles That Are Also Wikipedia Entries: What's Not To Like?

    The two-pronged approach of these "Topic Pages" has a number of benefits. It means that Wikipedia gains high-quality, peer-reviewed articles, written by experts; scientists just starting out gain an important new resource with accessible explanations of often highly-technical topics; and the scientists writing Topic Pages can add them to their list of citable publications -- an important consideration for their careers, and an added incentive to produce them.

    Other PLOS titles such as PLOS Computational Biology and PLOS Genetics have produced a few Topic Pages previously, but the latest move represents a major extension of the idea. As the blog post notes, PLOS ONE is initially welcoming articles on topics in quantum physics, but over time it plans to expand to all of physics. Let's hope it's an idea that catches on and spreads across all academic disciplines, since everyone gains from the approach -- not least students researching their homework.