As many at DataONE are aware, the increasing volume of data and complex global problems require increased data sharing. Unfortunately, there is little guidance on how to share data effectively. Based on this, the goal of the initial stage of this project is to identify some of the most common mistakes researchers make when preparing data for publication. Over the past week, I’ve brought myself up to speed on current suggestions for ecological metadata best practices. Then, I started reading reviewer comments on accepted data papers to see what problems the reviewers were identifying as potential problems with explanations of the data (metadata). Some of the overarching problems identified in this first pass are inadequate descriptions of the geospatial locations sampled and unclear methodology. The next step is to draft a rough hierarchy of common errors.