Increasing the rate of technology transfer from universities and national laboratories through academic entrepreneurship has been identified as an important issue in creating and sustaining national competitiveness, yet these organizations struggle to achieve even modest technology transfer goals. We build theory to explain why scientists resist engaging in academic entrepreneurship despite incentives and other external programs that encourage their participation. We explore individual level processes of traditional scientists in university and federal lab settings and theorize that identity-based barriers to academic entrepreneurship explain their resistance to engaging in technology transfer activities.