after a few years on JSTOR for economics(and history) I'm getting a little tired of just brute force method in trying to sort through what papers are relevant and influential in economic and historical fields and what papers had less of an impact. Does anybody familiar with the platform have an easy solution? I've started trying to insert articles I've found interesting onto Google Scholar to check for number of citations, but obviously it would be easier if there were some way to run number of citations or something through on JSTOR for some idea of relevance in the field. I know JSTOR probably isn't the best for econ, I use NBER and Google Scholar a bit too, so any general suggestions on just being able to find what papers have had an impact for any sub-field, i.e. developmental econ or international econ, would still be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
The "impact" question is difficult. You can do better than Google Scholar using e.g., Web of Science, but that's subscription-based and it's hard to disentangle article impact from journal impact. The "contemporary" question is a little easier.
https://www.academia.edu/ is one option. I get regular e-mails from user submissions based on extremely narrowly defined topics.
Another is http://nep.repec.org/. Google Scholar ties into Repec, but through the New Economic Papers feature (linked), you can subscribe to a curated list of new material on a range of pretty narrow fields.
As far as impact goes, in my opinion there really is no substitute for developing your own judgment. This is especially true in economics - there's still plenty of "phlogiston" out there because as much as we try to rest our thinking in math and the methods of physics, true experiments are a rare gift. Once you're tied into a steady stream of new articles, you'll get a sense for what's "trending" and what's not really relevant. This is probably the best you can do without being a faculty member somewhere.