In 2009, Harvard University needed more websites, but it faced two mountainous challenges:
- How to meet growing demand for high-quality sites that were tailored for academic usage (we had a website demand backlog!).
- And how to reduce ever-escalating web development costs (this problem was becoming expensive!).
Harvard's Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences (IQSS) jumped in to solve these problems by founding the OpenScholar research project at Harvard.
The OpenScholar development team addressed Harvard's website needs in a sufficiently general way so that faculty, students, departments, centers, and projects could all benefit. Their solution, OpenScholar software, was made available under an open source license for any university to use. The features of the software address almost every academic use case imaginable, the site spin-up requires no knowledge of programming, and the dozens of pre-designed templates available all-but-eliminate the need for costly customization. Sites look professional 'out-of-the-box'.
In 2017, the OpenScholar research team lifted out of Harvard University and became OpenScholar LLC. The company can now offer the services that support the software outside of Harvard for the first time. These services include: cloud hosting; system administation; end-user training; theming & design; and a 9am-5pm helpdesk. Now every university can benefit—from better websites & more powerful branding, to huge IT cost savings-- in the same way Harvard has done.