Preparing Content for Your OpenScholar Site


This guide will help you think through the content you may want to include in your OpenScholar site. Some of the items below are tasks to prepare your site. Others provide space to include web copy you’ll later paste into your site or suggestions to create a separate file for content. This link will take you to a recording of Part One: Preparing Content for your Open Scholar Site.


Site Examples

It often helps to see some examples. As you consider each area, visit these sites for ideas:


SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

OpenScholar’s motto is “Findable Research is Fundable Research.” Your site is optimized to rank high in search engine results.  This is done in multiple ways, such as automatically displaying well on mobile devices, accessibility, taxonomy, speed, and security. Another way is through automated meta tagging of your content. Just as your site’s structure was set for you, tagging of most of your content is also done automatically.  

There are things you can do to make your site as effective as possible. Since the purpose of having a website is to be found, you don’t want SEO to be an afterthought. Begin with the end in mind—how do you want to be found on the web?

Here are 11 tips for ensuring your site is optimized for the best results.

  • Write a description for your site that uses keywords people may use when searching for your work in Google. What would someone type into the search bar? What do you want to be known for? Once you have a description ready, follow these steps to add the description to your site:
    • step 1 - Go to Settings>Global Settings>SEO
    • step 2 - Add your site title and logo
    • step 3 - Enter your description in the field provided
  • Include Meta Descriptions for Pages. Like your site meta description, a Meta description on your pages is what appears under the link to your page in a search. You want to be clear and succinct, telling visitors the value of the page so they’ll feel compelled to click your link, even if it doesn’t appear 1st in results. Include 1-2 keywords in the description and keep it under 160 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search results.
  • Use images whenever possible, especially unique images such as photos of your lab or research. Not only do images enhance your content, but they can also send people to your site via Google Images. Make sure they are high quality, relevant, and include a title and alt text. Semrush offers these tips for writing effective alt text:

    Be descriptive: Describe the image in as much detail as you can. Imagine you are describing it to someone who can't see it. In addition to being helpful for search engines, this also helps those who use screen readers better understand images.
    Be unique: Every image on each page should have unique alt text. 
    Be relevant: Just like keywords in your content itself, you want to write natural-sounding alt text. This means you don’t need to stuff keywords into your alt text.

  • Create titles and headings that use keywords someone may enter in a Google search.
  • Incorporate keywords and related terms in the body of a page. You can find these by entering a search phrase in Google and looking at the section “Related searches.” Write them into the page naturally. Repetitive keywords have the opposite effect because they appear to Google as spam.
  • Use internal links and anchor text.  Internal links are links that point to other pages on your site. For more on how internal links boost SEO, view this article.
  • Include good anchor text. Anchor text is a text that is hyperlinked. Best practice is to keep it under five words and relevant. You can use your brand name, brand names with keywords, related keywords, etc. An example would be “Visit the OpenScholar Training Calendar” as opposed to “To register for training click here.”
  • Create shareable content. Research findings, interesting articles, etc., all help to drive traffic to your site.
  • Use simple language and sentence structures. Sites with Flesch readability of scores averaging 76, which means someone between the age of 13 and 15 can understand them, appear in the top 10 of search results.
  • Update your site often. Stagnant websites rank lower in Google searches than sites that are frequently updated.
  • List editors and contributors. This lends credibility and trustworthiness to your site.
  • Use video and interactive media, like slideshows.


Site Description

Write your site description here.  You can add it to your site by going to Settings>Global Setting>SEO and pasting it in the Meta Description field.


Bibliographic Format

Once you set your citation style, every publication you add will automatically have the correct format applied. To set your citation style, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Log into your OpenScholar site
  • Step 2: From the Control Panel, click on Site Settings>App Settings>Publications
  • Step 3: Check the radio dial button next to your preferred bibliographic format
  • Step 4: Establish any other preferred settings
  • Step 5: Click Submit

bibliography format setting



Prepare a file including your publications to import into OpenScholar. The following file types are supported: BibTeX, EndNote X3 XML, EndNote 7 XML, Endnote tagged, PubMed XML, PubMed ID List. You can export a list of publications from different repositories, such as Google Scholar. The steps are outlined in this document:  Exporting Publication Citations From Google Scholar.

To import your publications, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Log into your OpenScholar site
  • Step 2: From the Control Panel, click on Site Content>Import>Publication
  • Step 3: Locate your file
  • Step 4: Select the file type
  • Step 5: Click Submit

You can always add publications individually by going to Site Content>Add>Publication.



Files in OpenScholar refer to any images, videos, or documents you add to the site. You can upload these in bulk (i.e., headshots of everyone on your research team) by going to Site Content>Add>Files.  Files can also be added directly to any page you create. These will appear on the page as well as in the Files section. 

From the Files section, you can replace files, add captions, or go to Usage to see where in your site the files are being used.  

Create a folder where you will add any files you intend to include in your OpenScholar site.  Be sure images are of high quality.



What would you like on your “About” page? Include information such as your name/lab name, title, phone, email, office hours, bio, CV, etc.



Describe your areas of research. Consider any images or videos that will add interest to this page, then add these to your Files.



List any classes you’d like to add.  To see what fields are available, go to Site Content>Add>Classes.  List your classes in the order you’d like them to appear in your site.



If you have a team, you may want to request specific information from each person and save their responses to a folder. Information may include their bio, links to a website, contact information, etc.  To view available fields, go to Site Content>Add>Person.



If you’ll include information related to job opportunities, add that here. Your state may require that you disclose hiring salaries.



What news or updates would you like to include, if any? You can upload News in bulk through file import. 

  • Step 1: Log into your OpenScholar site
  • Step 2: Go to Site Content>Import>News
  • Step 3: Download the template
  • Step 4: Fill out the spreadsheet and save it as a .CSV file
  • Step 5: Locate the file
  • Step 6: Click Submit

Please refer to our documentation on best practices for importing content.



Would you like to rename or remove any menu items? Remember that the content type must remain the same.

Current Name News Name Remove (X)
News & Updates    




What information do you need to include related to grants?  Consider any information related to NIH funding, projects, etc.



Would you like to add any of the following to your site? If so, where would you like them to appear?

Apps Yes, Add (X) Where (Main menu link, Submenu item under _______)




 Vocabulary  Terms


Vocabulary  Terms



Vocabulary  Terms
 Graduate Student
 Postdoctoral Fellow
 Primary Investigator
 Undergraduate Students
 Visiting Students
 Research Focus  Bioarchaeology
 Chronology Archaeology
 Eurasian Prehistory Archaeology
 Historical & Classical Archaeology
 Paleolithic Archaeology
 Field Archaeology
 Classical Archaeology
 Near Eastern, Biblical Archaeology
 Underwater Archaeology




Here are some terms you’ll come across in your OpenScholar site:

  • Themes/Templates - The design of your site, a pre-set layout with your organization’s branding
  • Drupal 9 - The CMS (Content Management System) which is the backbone of your site
  • Nodes - Drupal term for pages of content
  • Menu - Links at top of site (Home, About, Publications, etc.)
  • Layouts - How the page is laid out–what goes where. Layouts contain widgets.
  • Widgets - Blocks of content that form the Layout
  • Taxonomy - Categories. Provide ways to search for content.
  • Files - Library of any image, document, video added to your site.
  • Book - Group of pages


If you want to have a copy of this guide in doc format, click Preparing Content for Your OpenScholar Site.