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In contrast to other types of research papers, a review article or survey paper is a scientific publication that does not make new data available, but aims to synthesize the state of knowledge about a certain question or field of research. It typically has a very long reference list. Conversely, review papers are usually also cited much more frequently than other papers in the same field. The intention of the authors is often to point their peers towards unresolved problems, and to suggest directions for research to take in the immediate future.
In several areas of science, journals exist that specialize in publishing reviews. They can generally be recognized by tell-tale elements of their titles, such as "progress," "trends," or "reviews." In some cases, they are prestigious enough to publish by invitation only. An example is the "Trends in XYZ" group of biology journals.
Another type of review paper is called a meta-analysis, which — rather than simply summarizing current knowledge — attempts to synthesize results from different analyses by combining data and using statistics across studies to obtain a hopefully more powerful result.