The journal's constant purpose is to present academic texts of the highest quality, making a significant contribution to the knowledge about the past and to historical research, as well as stimulating discussion in the historical circles both by publishing review articles and reviews, and by organising debates on issues important to Polish and world historiography. The Kwartalnik Historyczny is a scholarly forum open for historians representing various methodological approaches and research topics, both in 'traditional' political, economic, social, and cultural subjects and newly discovered areas of historical interest. The journal publishes texts by historians of all generations, representing various research centres, both in Poland and abroad.
The Kwartalnik Historyczny is a peer-reviewed journal, featuring only previously unpublished research results, prepared with great care and attention to editorial, linguistic and typographic aspects. For years, it has been a model for other Polish historical journals. It is included in the lists of the European Science Foundation for the humanities and social sciences (ERIH and ERIH Plus) and among the best Polish scientific journals. The articles published in the Kwartalnik Historyczny are awarded 100 points.
In 2019, the publication of successive issues of the Journal was assisted by 57 ad-hoc reviewers appointed depending on the article's subject (86 per cent of them were external reviewers under the Communication of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of 29 May 2013 on the criteria and procedure of assessing scholarly journals). The ratio of foreign reviewers in their total number was as high as 24.5 per cent.
In 2014, the first English-language issue (Special Issue) in the Journal's history was published. In 2017, the English-Language Edition series was initiated (one issue per year), available online in pdf format.
The contents of the volumes from 60 to 126 (1953–2019) are freely available to all users of the Digital Repository of Academic Institutes. The content of current volumes are deposited on the Akademicka Platforma Czasopism in open access. Paper current and archival issues are permanently available for purchase at www.semper.istore.pl .