Jekyll website template for personal academic or research group web pages.

A website template for academics


Some users:

If you are using this template, feel free to share your site with me, and I'll add it here!


This is a statically-generated Jekyll/Liquid/Bootstrap-based website template for academics. I started with the Allan lab webpage and modified it into a personal academic webpage that met my requirements. I worked in a unique set of the features that I desired and could not find in publicly available templates elsewhere. Some examples are:

  • Automatically generated buttons for DOI/PDF/ARXIV/BIB/Abstract information
    • via Jekyll Scholar
  • Bibliography information and abstracts open in drown-down wells via buttons
  • Fontawesome icons (email, CV, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, GitHub, etc.)
  • Dark color scheme via Bootswatch
  • Consistent and attractive About me page

I encourage using this webpage as a template for your academic website. The remainder of this document describes how to do this. Broadly speaking, there are three steps:

Fork and build

  • Fork this repository by clicking the fork button in the top-right corner of its Github page.
  • Install Jekyll (version less than 4.0 required) on your local computer
    • On MacOS, you will need to upgrade your Ruby version from the depricated v2.3 that is shipped. Follow the above Jekyll instructions closely.
  • Run $ bundle exec jekyll serve in the repository root directory
  • Your site is now hosted locally at localhost:4000, which you can access with your web browser.
    • It will be automatically rebuilt as you save changes to the files it contains. Refreshing your web browser reveals these changes.


  • This webpage uses Jekyll plugins like Jekyll Scholar to automatically build your bibliography. If you are using GitHub pages, you will have to build the site with the Rakefile in the root directory of the source branch. You can do so by first modifying the file as appropriate and then, after pushing your changes, execute rake publish.


  • Modify _config.yml as appropriate
  • Modify YAML database files, located in _data/*.yml, as appropriate
  • Modify individual pages, located in _pages/*.md, as appropriate

The pages in the top navbar are in the _config.yml file. The typical options are already included or commented on, though additional pages can be created and listed here.

Creating or editing pages

All pages are located in the _pages directory. Pages generally load information from YAML databases located as _data/*.yml. Creating new pages can be done by using existing pages as a template.

Page header information

All pages require header information. Example header data for the 'Talks' page is below.

title: "Talks"
layout: gridlay
sitemap: false
permalink: /talks/

The layout variable corresponds to HTML layouts in the _layouts directory. The difference between most layouts is subtle, and gridlay can generally be used. The permalink must be unique for each page and correspond to the directory storing the page in the compiled HTML. Refer to your pages in _config.yml via the title variable.


All pages are written in Markdown as *.md. HTML commands and CSS styles can be directly used in a markdown files.

Publication page and database

The publications and talks are now listed via Jekyll Scholar. The bibliography file ref.bib is located in the assets/ directory. Modify according to your needs.


Once your site has been modified to fit your needs, you should host it somewhere so others can access it.

Github pages

A simple way to host your site for free is via Github Pages. This will provide you with a free domain name at Instructions on how to do this are available on their page. They generally involve creating a repository on your Github titled and uploading your files there (everything except the _site/ directory, which the GitHub Pages service will generate using its own version of Jekyll). Then, GitHub will automatically rebuild your site every time you push a commit to the repository (no bundle/Jekyll commands required).

Custom domain names

You can use a standard domain service (e.g. GoDaddy) to purchase a domain name. Then, using the CNAME file and modifying the DNS settings of the domain service, you can direct your custom domain to the GitHub Pages-generated site. Detailed instructions for doing this for GoDaddy domains are available here, though analogous instructions apply to other services.

Hosting elsewhere

If you already have a hosting service for a static HTML webpage, such as some universities provide, you can build your website locally using bundle exec jekyll serve. Then, upload the resulting files to this server via SSH or FTP via the _site/ directory. Be sure that the site.url and site.baseurl are set appropriately in the _config.yml file.


Static website generators

A list of static webpage generators is available here. For academic purposes, I believe most people use Jekyll or Hugo. I am mostly unaware of their relative merits. However, both are relatively easy to use and offer many templates to base your ideas off of. This, in combination with their large user bases, makes them particularly attractive. This site is built with Jekyll.


Other Jekyll templates are, of course, available. Some of these are viable for very simple academic pages with little tuning:

However, they do not natively include many of the features I list at the top. For this reason, I decided to construct my own.


I credit the Allen Lab for creating a beautiful academic research group webpage. Many parts of this site were adopted or copied from their laboratory webpage.