Ph.D. students, myself included, often ask themselves: Is my research leading somewhere? Am I going to create any impact with my project? The daily chores, “publish or perish”, and increasing competition for senior positions push students to create data in a record time; however, not everything that is published is reproducible or could lead to clinical/translational applications.
To address this, Daniel Lakens in a recent World View paper for nature discusses the importance of creating methodological review boards. In his opinion, by having methods scrutinized, students could approach or phrase the initial research questions more efficiently, and determine what tests should be made, sample size, etc. Baker gives several tips on how to publicize protocols and increase reproducibility. She mentions that people might work with the same materials and obtain different results, and for eliminating this, thorough descriptions and revisions by peers are necessary. For this, she lists a series of online tools.
These two cases might not be the solution to all problems, but they certainly address some of them. By reviewing the methodology and aligning it to the initial research question, early-career scientists might make progress faster and have their daily struggles reduced.
Lakens, D. (2023) Is my study useless? why researchers need methodological review boards, Nature News. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04504-8 (Accessed: 24 May 2023).
Baker, M. (2021) Five keys to writing a reproducible lab protocol, Nature News. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02428-3 (Accessed: 24 May 2023).