What type of NPCs count as a scientist?
This is a common question due to the vast number of "scientist" phrases used in our skills system, enchantments, and quest descriptions.
The short but not completely accurate answer is: any humanoid type NPC that walks on two legs. But there are some slight exceptions, read below for the full details.
With the introduction of scarecrows they started a new type of AI called HTN. And as you know they also added other NPCs like underwater dwellers, subway dwellers, gingerbread men, etc.
It's honestly pretty hard for a player to have any indication of what Rust processes as a "scientist". Believe it or not, just the normal rad suit wearing scientists actually have about 17 different types behind the scenes. All in all there are at least 30 or so humanoid type NPCs in Rust that we are aware of.
Luckily our admin ESP function actually color codes NPC types. And for the most part it appears that all NPCs not using a melee weapon are considered scientists, at least when it comes to the code behind the scenes, and anything using a melee weapon is actually considered a scarecrow and might not count towards whatever skill or quest or enchantment you are asking about.
One final mind blow .... they can dynamically change! Our custom NPC plugin will actually switch NPC types on the fly so that it can switch weapons. If a custom NPC of ours is shooting at you with a ranged weapon, it is a scientist behind the scenes. If it switches to a melee weapon the plugin actually transforms it into a scarecrow (will still look normal to you, just the behind the scenes part of him) while he uses the melee weapon. Pretty neat!