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RDAP Member Highlight: Chao Cai

August 09, 2021 10:33 AM | Laura Palumbo

What is your name, job title, institution or company, & how long have you been in your current position?

My name is Chao Cai. I am an Assistant Professor and the Plant Sciences Information Specialist with the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies. I started this position in August 2018, so it’s been 3 years since I’ve been on this job.

What are 3 words that describe you? What are 3 words that describe RDAP?

Me: newbie, learning, passionate

RDAP: my, professional, home

Do you have any roles in RDAP? If so, what do you do and what do you find motivating about your work with RDAP?

I am currently a member of the Conference Planning Committee in RDAP. Along with other members of the Conference Planning Committee, I help to plan and organize the next RDAP Summit. I consider RDAP as “my professional home”, so it is quite rewarding that I have the opportunity to make some contributions to this “home”. Also, being able to work with experienced colleagues from other institutions is really a great learning experience for me, which is another big motivation.

Please describe your path to your current position/profession.

I think I have a relatively unique path towards my current position as an information/data professional. I was trained as a plant biologist, and my PhD work was about fern biology. I’m familiar with research data as I have extensive training on bioinformatics and statistical analytics. So, I became one of the co-instructors for a graduate level research data management course, and work with research groups for their data management practices.

What is one thing about research data that excites you?

One thing that excites me about research data is the education on best practices of research data management, which is something that I wish I had exposure to when I was a graduate student and postdoc. It is really a fundamental skill that every researcher in training should obtain, but mostly neglected/left out of the graduate curricula.


The RDAP community brings together a variety of individuals, including data managers and curators, librarians, archivists, researchers, educators, students, technologists, and data scientists from academic institutions, data centers, funding agencies, and industry who represent a wide range of STEM disciplines, social sciences, and humanities.


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