In scientific research there are a number of problems today:
- Studies that aren't reproducible.
- Studies and papers that are criticized for their methods, conclusions, or bias.
- Industry-funded studies that are discounted due to accusation of conflict of interest.
- Individuals and groups who are defensive of their work due to their personal and/or financial investment, and are inherently not open-minded toward critical feedback.
- Even if researchers are open to critical feedback and scrutiny, it may still be infeasible to re-run a flawed study due to logistics, financial, and time limitations.
From my experience in engineering, arguably the most valuable ROI effort in a large project is getting early peer review before significant investment is made toward an approach.
If a group of peer reviewers had a chance to give their feedback on how a study was going to be performed, then the results are more likely to be valid, and the reviewers are more likely to accept whatever the results will be.
I am not a reseacher and am completely unfamiliar with the process of publishing a study or a paper. However, the only peer review I have heard of is where only final results are reviewed. I am curious:
- Do journals, institutions, etc. have processes that require peer-review of initial proposals and procedures before a research study is allowed to commence?
- If not, why not?
I suspect that such a process would have the potential to greatly increase the quality of studies, and prevent much wasted effort where studies are published that never gain acceptance (presumably due to quality problems but perhaps for non-technical reasons as well). Curious to hear others' thoughts.