The quarterly Acta Palaeontologica Polonica emerged in 1956 from the Acta Geologica Polonica, which first appeared in 1950 and used to contain many papers authored by employees of the Institute of Paleobiology (at that time Zakład Paleozoologii PAN). Because the geological journal was not able to afford the increasing number of paleontological articles, Roman Kozłowski, a member of the Editorial Board of the Acta Geologica Polonica, decided to establish a sister journal devoted exclusively to paleontological topics. Initially, papers in Polish and French (one in Russian) had been accepted along with those in English, but since more than twenty years English has been practically the exclusive language of the Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Since the very beginning of its existence APP has been publishing cross-regional works, and thanks to the exchange with libraries and publishers from abroad the journal was distributed to all leading paleontological centers. The milestones in periodical development were the shift to electronic typesetting and high quality offset printing in 1991 and then inclusion of APP into prestigious ISI Master Journal List in 1996. The next important change was enlargement of the journal size (Letter Format allowed the more efficient use of printing surface), more than doubling the number of works published and–at the same time–making available full text version of articles in PDF format free of charge (on-line ISSN 1732-2421).

In 2005 Acta Palaeontologica Polonica officially joined DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), the group of journals supporting the international initiative of free access to scholarly publications. The possibility of transferring electronic materials to APP server as well as the implementation of service informing about new volumes published were introduced in 2006  (APP-upload service and  APP-alert). In 2007 Acta Palaeontologica Polonica introduced its own system that allowed management of the publishing process via Internet. Since 2013 Acta Palaeontologica Polonica uses a new web-based submission and review software, the Editorial System.

In 2009 Acta Palaeontologica Polonica provided access to a complete archive of all published articles free of charge (previously the accessible archive included texts published after 2002). APP is indexed in a number of scientific databases but we always seek new ways to reach a broader public. In 2008 APP joined CrossRef and BioOne consortia.  As a result APP has been publishing individual works (with DOI, Digital Object Identifier) as soon as they have been accepted (forthcoming papers section), also html versions of articles are available.

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