A large number of finance research seem to start with data or the questions that journal editors may find interesting. Taking advantage of the explosion of new data, some scholars tend to tackle simple and high-level questions. In so doing, they enjoy the first-mover advantage and win citations. Other scholars network and try to be faster in grasping tastes of journal editors. There is nothing wrong with these efforts. But if such data- and relation-driven research are dominant, the social value and the real impact of knowledge finance research create can be at best limited. Also, data- and relation-driven research are more likely to encounter competing work and be written in a hurry and thus of insufficient quality.
Ph.D. students and junior faculty are discouraged to enter the mature literature. It is a crowded area where incumbents easily kill early-stage ideas. The probability of top journal publications is lower and so is that of getting tenure. They are instead advised to enter the young and growing literature where research demand is high and its supply is low. While the advice is entirely sensible, if one is confident enough to deliver new insights based on his or her unique experience and superior knowledge, why not jump into the mature literature? The literature is mature at least in part because it addresses import questions and also demands fresh brains to improve old, or outdated, thoughts.