As may be seen from our newly updated page listing Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design, the ID movement has developed a diverse research program bearing fruit in the form of more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Beyond doubt, ID proponents have published a significant body of legitimate peer-reviewed research.
In the past, critics charged that ID cannot be taken seriously until it has published just such "peer-reviewed research." Yet it's important to understand that being recognized in the peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea's scientific merit.
Good Science without Peer-Review
Some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science first appeared in published form not in peer-reviewed scientific journal articles but in scientific books. That includes Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and Newton's Principia. Einstein's original paper on relativity was published in a scientific journal (Annalen der Physik), but did not undergo formal peer-review.1 Indeed, Darwin's own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience -- his Origin of Species -- not in a peer-reviewed paper.
Moreover, important scientific work has not uncommonly been initially rejected by peer-reviewed journals. As a 2001 article in Science observed, "Mention 'peer review' and almost every scientist will regale you with stories about referees submitting nasty comments, sitting on a manuscript forever, or rejecting a paper only to repeat the study and steal the glory."2 Indeed, an article in the journal Science Communication by Juan Miguel Campanario notes that top journals such as "Science and Nature have also sometimes rejected significant papers," and in fact "Nature has even rejected work that eventually earned the Nobel Prize."3 In an amusing letter titled "Not in our Nature," Campanario reminds the journal of four examples where it rejected significant papers:
(1) In 1981, Nature rejected a paper by the British biochemist Robert H. Michell on signalling reaction by hormones. This paper has since been cited more than 1,800 times.
(2) In June 1937, Nature rejected Hans Krebs's letter describing the citric acid cycle. Krebs won the 953 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for this discovery.
(3) Nature initially rejected a paper on work for which Harmut Michel won the 1988 Nobel prize for chemistry; it has been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information as a core document and widely cited.
(4) A paper by Michael J. Berridge, rejected in 1983 by Nature, ranks at number 275 in a list of the most-cited papers of all time. It has been cited more than 1,900 times.4
Elsewhere, Campanario lists "instances in which 36 future Nobel Laureates encountered resistance on the part of scientific journal editors or referees to manuscripts that dealt with discoveries that on later dates would assure them the Nobel Prize.