In 2009, Harvard University needed more faculty websites, but it faced two key challenges:
- Procuring high-quality sites that were A) tailored to academic-specific needs and B) easy for faculty to spin up and edit themselves.
- Reducing ever-escalating web development and IT support costs on campus.
Harvard's Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences (IQSS) stepped 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 was the OpenScholar software platform and a suite of services to support its campus usage. 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.