What exactly is an "invited review article"? I have the opportunity to be an author on one of these, but I have no clue how this looks in comparison to research articles. (I am referring to invited review articles for reputable journals well-known in the field only.)
What exactly is an "invited review article"?
It is an article that appears in one issue of a journal. The article goal is to review the recent development of a specific topic (sometimes it goes with a special journal issue in that topic).
how this looks in comparison to research articles.
Research articles contain original ideas and contributions to the field done by the authors. In contrast, a review article usually has no absolute originality in a sense that the authors are not coming up with something totally new. They are nicely summarizing what is happening in the field and identifying possible challenges.
The benefits you get out of publishing a review article in your field (specially when you are at an early stage of your research career and with a reputable journal) are numerous
1. You get to know your topic.
This has the advantage of organizing your thoughts and identifying possible contributions into the field.
2. A Good Critical Review = High Citations.
Good review articles tend to have many many citations. This means many people going to know your name (and possibly look for your other publications).
Journals accept different types of articles apart from regular articles such as for example, short communications, letter to the Editor, Correspondence etc. The definition of these vary. Journals publishing regular research articles may have guidelines that state that they do not accept review articles. There are also journals that focus on review articles. The reason for not accepting review articles probably vary substantially between journals but clearly review articles are usually very extensive and require much more work from reviewers and editors and so may be disrupting the regular flow of articles.
So, in the cases, I know of, including "my own" journal, Invited reviews is a way for a journal that focuses on publishing regular research articles to put strict limits on what is submitted as a review article. The "Invited" meaning that there is no point in submitting in a review article to the journal in the hope of getting it published. Instead the journal will in some way invite the reviews they will accept for review. By "invite" the journal can consider receiving suggestions for a review by an author or by having editors identify and suggest authors to write a review, I am sure the processes vary. In this way, the review becomes a more exclusive entry in the journal focussing on a topic that is considered of key interest to the journal and its audience. The main difference from reviews in a review article journal is thus the selection method of the manuscripts.
So, for what it is worth, an invited review, given the points provided above, will be slightly more prestigious than an ordinary review article in a review journal. In the end, however, it will be the usefulness of the article that provides the real value of the publication.