This is a general question inspired by an interesting question where a researcher investigated the efficacy of a product produced by a company and made adverse findings against the product. In that question, the company became aware of the research prior to publication and some of its personnel sought input into the research (e.g., requesting the data, requesting to see the paper prior to publication), and the researcher wanted to know how to deal with this.
There are some obvious dangers that arise when personnel in such a company seek input into the research process for an outside review of one of the company's products, since it could potentially break the independence of the research. However, there are also a number of potential benefits: (1) company personnel may be able to share expert knowledge of the subject, perhaps provide useful information, interpretation, criticism, or data; (2) the researchers potentially benefit from critical feedback on their work (from a potentially hostile reviewer) prior to publication, allowing them to strengthen the work with revisions; and (3) the review process could potentially avoid ---or reduce the scope of--- possible false research findings and resulting legal claims. In view of the possible benefits of this kind of review, I have a number of questions (feel free to respond to only one/some of them):
Should researchers or academic journal editors ever seek referee reports (or more informal feedback) from personnel from companies who are adversely affected by outside research of their products/services/etc., prior to publication of results? If so, what circumstances would make this appropriate?
If such referee reports are solicited (and given) as part of the formal peer review process, how should an editor treat them? Should they be treated just like any other referee reports, or should the editor take them "with a grain of salt"?
If such referee reports are solicited (and given), either in formal peer-review or in informal communication with the researchers, what if any disclosure of this should be made in the paper? Should the report just be treated like any other referee report and remain anonymous, or should the reader be made aware of any changes made to the paper in response to referee review by the company?
Is there any clear current practice for this in universities or academic journals? Have there been any cases that have caused controversies or misconduct issues? Is there a "best practice" on this issue?
Is this all just a complete no-no (i.e., reports should not be solicited from interested companies)?