Given my involvement in the academic community, that is, 3.4 years for the Bachelor's degree, and on track to a PhD in Computer Science, I can very readily understand the distrust one can feel towards the research community. After all, it is made up of humans. Humans can either obsess to reach some kind of completion, disregarding harm done on the way their (the ends justify the means), or they are haphazard about their work, neglecting, therefore doing a dis-service to their subject area. Those that conceal their results and findings are most often those that have not yet completed their research. Rather than risk letting others publish on what they've labored on, they will take their work to the very end before even muttering about it.
Ah, and research councils and groups! I am a part of one such entity. We're encouraged to look for places to publish. But let me stray no further.
On a different train, let us call the scientist the progenitor of our imaginations. What they strive to make reality is that which we couldn't imagine a decade before. Their motivations and intentions are various.
The scientists of today base their findings on hard numbers, the ability to recreate experiments, and previous results. From this, they are able to create. But who is to say that the witchdoctors, sorcerers, alchemists, and necromancers of days gone were not scientists?
Their labors may have produced what we today look upon as only popular fiction. Zombies, talking familiars (dogs, cats, etc.), vampires, human-animal hybrids (harpies, lizard men), and so forth.
I state this all in opinion, so that your own thoughts may be moved to speak on the matter. :)