One of the first ethical views on behavior when performing in science stems from Francis Bacon (see 5): “A scientist should never be motivated to do science for personal gain, advancement or other rewards.”

When science progressed and scientists started making careers and a living in the profession the idea of Intellectual Property arose, firstly advocated by Diderot (1713-1784). (see 10). At the time it was still contested by the Marquis Condorcet (1743-1794), who saw the creations of scientists as an act of God and took the view that consequently they should be considered 'public' property.

When rules for copyright were established in Europe by the Convention of Bern (1886), also other forms of intellectual property in science became to be recognized, e.g., the need for the recognition of predecessors in research by proper citation.

'Publish or perish' and being as high as possible on the Citation Index became leading principles for 20th century scientists.

Nevertheless, many a student still enters the scientific community merely motivated by curiosity for 'how things work'. But soon the young scientist is confronted with the reality of the world today, which leaves little room for Bacon's altruism.

The geneticist Barbara McClintock once said of her research, “I was just so interested in what I was doing I could hardly wait to get up in the morning and get at it. One of my friends, a geneticist, said I was a child, because only children can't wait to get up in the morning to get at what they want to do.” (Keller, 11, from NAS)

The pursuit of that experience is one of the forces that keep researchers going to their laboratories and studies.

Scientific research offers more than the exhilaration of discovery. Scientists are part of a community based on common ideals of trust and freedom, where hard work and achievement are recognized. And their work can have a direct and immediate impact on society, which ensures that the public will have an interest in the findings and implications of research.

The successful scientist who has made useful contributions to the knowledge in a particular field receives rewards in different forms and grades. It is felt as an honor to be on the editorial board of a prestigious scientific journal, to be invited as a key-note speaker at an international conference. Great credits are honor doctorates at well-known universities, prizes distributed by learned societies, with on top the Nobel award of the Swedish Academy.

Next to these gains of prestige, which are typical for the scientific community, there is of course the motivation to make a career in science, to become a project leader, a professor at a university or the scientific director of a research institution. A relatively new challenge in fields of the natural sciences is to become associated with a venture capital enterprise, usually located on, or near to a university campus, which pursues the direct application of the results of fundamental research. And this not necessarily only for people with dollar signs in their eyes.

However, research and the pursuit of a career, can entail frustrations and disappointments as well as satisfactions. An experiment may fail because of poor design, technical complications, or the unpredictable behavior of nature or society. A favored hypothesis may turn out to be incorrect after consuming months of effort. Colleagues may disagree over the validity of experimental data, the interpretation of results, or credit for work done.

And there are other barriers to enjoy being a scientist today.

The numbers of trained researchers and exciting research opportunities have grown faster than have available financial resources, which has increased the pressure on the research system and on individual scientists. Research endeavors are becoming larger, more complex, and more expensive, creating new kinds of situations and relationships among researchers. The conduct of research is more closely monitored and regulated than it was in the past. Scientists may have to live for a considerable time on short-term research grants before a secure tenure position is reached, if at all.

The part played by science in society has become more prominent and more complex, with consequences that are both invigorating and stressful. Exciting results may not be allowed to be published immediately if a commercial interest is associated with it, e.g., by a pending patent application. The application of scientific results may be, at the same time, beneficial to society, or disastrous and the subject of heated ethical debate in the society at large.

The modern scientist requires moral stamina in a turbulent world of satisfactions and frustrations. Accepted rules for Good Scientific Practice and for Good Managerial Practice, respected by both scientists and science administrators, will help maintain a healthy working climate in the ambitious and competitive scientific community.

–> 1.7 The social Structure of Science