Does a culture exist out there which considers a process of writing scientific papers to be akin to writing an open source code?

For the last 8 years I had been blessed being paid for doing open source development. It means that for that long about everything I do is almost instantly available publicly. This model fits my way of thinking, my values, and I see an advantage in making all I do available for public to see, comment, and enhance.

Now I am writing a paper, and I feel being thrown into “dark ages”. Whole paper writing and publishing culture was one of the reasons I left molecular biology and went to programming. I assume the following is usually true when people write a scientific paper –

  • People normally do not share publicly what they work on until it is published.
  • People normally use proprietary software to write papers
  • People often loose their copyright or ability to share their work when their paper is accepted by a journal

Obviously there is a progress with the last point, but what about other 2?

  • Can I use public revision control system when I am writing a paper?
  • Can I publish using a revision control system from the very first paragraph for all to see?
  • What open standards/tools can I use (LaTeX, or even markdown?) for writing a paper
  • Can I consider publishing paper to be a ‘release’, like for a program?
  • Should electronic version be frozen? Can it evolve after publication?