Basically, these are articles written by researchers that are published in peer-reviewed (experts read them over to make sure the live up to certain standards) scientific journals (collections of research papers on a particular topic).
For those who don’t know what the heck I am talking about, read on:
I found the following great summaries on the University of Texas Libraries website.
When scientists and other scholars want to make the results of their work public, they usually begin by publishing them in a scholarly journal with a title like New England Journal of Medicine, or Journal of Cell Biology.
Review articles are an attempt by one or more writers to sum up the current state of the research on a particular topic. Ideally, the writer searches for everything relevant to the topic, and then sorts it all out into a coherent view of the “state of the art” as it now stands.
I love finding review articles when I want to learn about something new I am interested in. One I am reading right now is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18394711. For those of you trying to download (I don’t know why you would want to) you need a subscription to the journal containing this article.
There’s no way I could afford subscriptions to all the journals I reference on this site, but since I am doing a Masters Degree right now, I have access to the Universities’ subscriptions. Which makes this a good time to be writing for this website!
Anyway, just wanted to clear up some confusion on where my information is coming from.