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Scientific explanations must withstand peer review before being accepted as science knowledge

Key Ideas

  • Peer review involves scientists (working in the same or related fields) exploring and discussing the proposed explanation. The explanation may be accepted as science knowledge when there is general agreement that it is a valid way of thinking about the world around us.


Peer review may be initiated through publication of research results in a recognised scientific journal or direct response to a presentation at a conference.

Review may include replicating investigations that have contributed to the proposed explanation and comparing observations made with the published results.

Teacher reflection

  • Why is peer review important for scientists?
  • If a scientist has a view that is not widely supported by the science community, is the scientist necessarily wrong? Why or why not?
  • What processes exist for peer review? How do scientists submit their work for review?
  • Why is being published by the ‘right’ journal important for scientists?
  • Does publishing new scientific explanations on the Internet ensure that the work is valid scientific knowledge? Why or why not?