Scientific researchers have their own paradigm of constant exchange of knowledge similar to that in the open source community, because science advances most rapidly when discoveries are made known to other scientists who can add their intuitions to them. Scientists gain fulfillment from the publication of their work, because this increases their stature among other scientists and in general determines the success of their careers. Scientists routinely use open source as a means of publishing the software component of their work. In addition, scientists are motivated by the desire to be of benefit to society. Thus, to scientific participants, users are of benefit and should not be considered free-riders.
There is some question regarding whether the free-rider problem is as significant in the case of software as it is for other sorts of products, and whether it applies to open source at all. A free-rider on a bus uses the scarce resource of a seat, so that a potential paying rider could be denied a chance to ride the bus. A free-rider who has bootlegged a copy of Microsoft Windows may or may not diminish the market for paid copies of Windows, but does not use any scarce resource that would exclude other Windows users. A free-rider using open source does not diminish a market or use any scarce resource.