Who should own science? How has the systematic privatization of science (alias ‘technology transfer’) that has become so pervasive over the last quarter of a century affected the practice of science? What are the benefits, and what are the possible limitations and drawbacks for the research enterprise? Over the past two decades, government policy in most developed countries has fundamentally altered the academic landscape in a drive for profit. Universities have been pushed to adopt a predominantly commercial mindset, from taking out patents to prioritizing research that promises short-term economic gains. The rapid spread of partnerships between businesses and universities has led to some disciplines becoming so intertwined with industry that often academics are unable to retain their independence. Life sciences departments, in particular, are the paragons of extensive commercial links with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Such problems are a major concern if they risk undermining the quality and reliability of research. This is perhaps best illustrated by "sponsorship bias", where research generates results that suit the funder. Another recurrent problem is the failure to report results unfavourable to the funder. What can scientists do to safeguard against such challenges to retain the trust that is invested in them by the public?