Contemporary Scientists Discuss the Need for Openness and Open-Mindedness in Science and Society

Pamela J. Mulhall, Dorothy V. Smith, Christina E. Hart, Richard F. Gunstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We report on findings from a qualitative study of Australian scientists whose work brings them into contact with the public. This research sought to understand how a school science curriculum could better represent the work of scientists today. We discuss the views expressed by our participant scientists about the importance of openness and open-mindedness in their work, including their engagement with the public. They described openness as an important characteristic of science. Our participants also see open-mindedness on the part of both scientists and members of the public as important for productive relationships. They see the development of such relationships as an essential facet of their work. The views expressed by these scientists provide a provocative insight into the ways in which contemporary scientists see their work and relationships with their communities. Their perspectives have important implications for approaches to teaching science in schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1168
Number of pages18
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Contemporary scientists
  • Open-mindedness
  • Openness
  • Public
  • Teaching science

Cite this