What is the best barrier to entry in a field?

I have started reading working papers in a relatively new area that I have not worked in.  The field is only gaining traction, but it has enough traction to start to appear in top journals.

All the working papers assume that you have already understand the main arguments in the field.  But I bet that lots of people have not.   With enough effort, it is possible to figure out the main arguments,  though the requirement puts a bit of a barrier to entry.  And taking things at faith means that I cannot be a useful critic.

That seems like a good way to get create a ‘research club’— which I guess is what these researchers want.  As long as one of that group referees the papers, the paper  can become successful.  So the issue is convincing some main —and perhaps outside the field—gatekeeper to take the new area seriously.  But after you have achieved that, you can keep everyone else out.  Exactly what they want.


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