The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences was established in 1948, became a unit of Division I: Social Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1952, and in 1988 it acquired its legal personality.
Following the last parametric evaluation, the Institute has once again received the highest category of A+, thus ranking among the best research units.
The Institute has for years conducted research in literary studies, with particular focus on: history of Polish literature, theory of literature, methodology of literary research, study of artistic language, academic editing, information on and documentation of literary research, cultural studies, and other areas reflecting the current demands in humanities. It runs long‑term documentary and editing
projects, such as Polska Bibliografia Literacka (Polish Literary Bibliography), Słownik Polszczyzny XVI wieku (Dictionary of 16th Century Polish Language), Słownik Współczesnych Pisarzy i Badaczy Literatury (Dictionary of Contemporary Writers and Literary
Researchers), Biblioteka Pisarzy Staropolskich (Library of Old Polish Writers), Biblioteka Pisarzy Polskiego Oświecenia (Library of Polish Enlightenment Writers), revised editions of the works of Jan Kochanowski, Gustaw Herling-Grudziński and Eliza Orzeszkowa.
It conducts unique and advanced research in such fields as: Old Polish studies, modern editing, literary geography, popularisation of 19th century culture, Holocaust studies, communist studies, gender studies, digital humanities and animal studies.
The Institute carries out its scientific programmes in collaboration with university departments of Polish studies, foreign academic centres and other institutes of Division I of the Polish Academy of Sciences. It runs international projects, including the Polish Literature and Language Contest, held outside Poland since 1990 (Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Greece, France, Hungary, and for some time also the Czech Republic and Slovakia).