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Is there any tiers or levels for conferences? and if yes on which basis people and authors can decide that a particular conference is of Tier 1 and another one is Tier 2 ?

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    You may get better answers if you specify which discipline you're interested in. – David Ketcheson Aug 9 '12 at 15:36
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    @DavidKetcheson: +1 for specifying the discipline. For instance, in mathematics this is moot; going to a conference and presenting a paper has negligible direct career value. You go in order to see the other people who will be there, to tell them about your work and hear about theirs. It's irrelevant what "tier" the conference is; you just need to know who is going and if it's anyone you care about :) – Nate Eldredge Aug 10 '12 at 1:46
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The Australian Research Council (ARC) publishes a comprehensive ranking of journals which classified each as A*, A, B or C. This list can be found here.

The best way, however, is to talk to researchers or faculty members from the relevant field. I would be surprised if any researcher worth their salt didn't know what the main conferences are, each conference's preferences and biases, or what notional level of prestige is associated with each.

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    +1 for the final paragraph. I'm not sure about official rankings for any given field, but any knowledgeable researcher will be able to tell you the top two or three conferences in their field. – eykanal Aug 9 '12 at 15:08
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    The question was about conferences, not journals. – David Ketcheson Aug 9 '12 at 15:36
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    The computer science version of these rankings applies to conferences. – Dave Clarke Aug 9 '12 at 15:48
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    Unless I'm missing something, the (unreleased) 2012 rankings will not include conferences, unlike the 2010 rankings, available here. – JeffE Aug 9 '12 at 19:22
  • Links provided are broken – Nick Oct 3 '16 at 4:04
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Some fields rank conferences by geographic scope. For example, you may have local, regional, national, and international conferences. Presumably, but not always, the prestige of the conference increases as it caters to a larger audience. If the conference has enough draw to convince individuals from other countries to pay the travel expenses, it will be more prestigious than a conferences attended only by people who live within 50 miles of the location.

You should also be able to distinguish conferences based on how well-known speakers are. Most conferences release their programs in advance. If your conference has multiple well-known researchers in your field giving several talks each, or maybe a keynote given by a Nobel Laureate, it is probably a serious conference.

I would not judge the prestige of a conference on the physical size, i.e the number of participants. The Gordon Research Conferences are very well thought of, but often quite small.

The last paragraph of jogloran's answer is good advice. Ask your colleagues in your discipline.

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Depending on your discipline, you may be able to find an established ranking of conferences. Computer science-related disciplines heavily gear their publishing towards conference proceedings and, as such, there are resources, depending on the sub-discipline, that can give a hierarchical ranking of 'top conferences' (perhaps, depending on your discipline, a simple Google search could resolve).

As has already been mentioned, conference prestige is often associated with levels of geography, "international" being the highest level. This typically means anyone can submit and so, given the larger audience, there is usually correspondingly larger degree of prestige associated.

Also, it may worth noting that conference impact factor statistics has been an emerging trend as of late. This may also be used, where available, to assess conference prestige.

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