I am interested in which academic conferences have a large number of attendees.

There are many reasons why academics want to know this information. Researchers and administrators who organize many interdisciplinary academic activities need to know the biggest conferences across seemingly unrelated fields so they can proactively avoid scheduling conflicts. In addition, all research that compares the policies of large academic conferences needs to start with a manageable list of conferences. For example, it is easy to find the list of R1 universities if one wants to study university policies, but what is a comparable list for conferences if one wants to study conference policies. Of course, one can google conferences, and ask colleagues in other departments for their favorite ones, but that is hardly objective. One objective way to study conference policies would be to only study conferences with more than X attendees.

For example, one might want to study sexual harassment policies at academic conferences. But really there is a lot of research that could benefit from a short-list; and some statistics on the distribution.

Below is a list I've come up with so far.

  • Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting ~30,300
  • The American Geophysical Union conference ~23,000
  • European Geosciences Union General Assembly ~14,500 source
  • American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition ~12,000
  • American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America & Soil Science Society of America International Annual Meeting ~9,000
  • Society for Research in Child Development - SRCD Biennial Meeting ~6,500
  • Joint Mathematics Meetings, ~6,300
  • Joint Statistics Meetings, ~6,000
  • Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting ~4,000
  • Applied Social Sciences Alliance annual meeting ~must be over 4,000, but how much?

I would like to know the number of attendees at academic conferences [to keep things manageable, let's only consider conferences for which attendance is greater than 4,000]. While the conference could include quite a few practitioners and government officials, to keep this on-topic at "academia" only include conferences that are at least primarily academic.

  • 1
    Spie photonics west has about 20,000 attendees spie.org/conferences-and-exhibitions/photonics-west
    – snalx
    May 3, 2017 at 5:51
  • 1
    @snalx But how many of those attended the three conferences and how many just browsed the two exhibitions?
    – skymningen
    May 3, 2017 at 6:48
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    @Davidmh No such list exists on the internet, it is difficult to obtain this info without field specific knowledge of the whole academic community [which is why I thought this community would be well suited]. Such a list can generate endless research opportunities for academics in all fields. I'm currently studying policies of conferences and I want to make sure I don't miss any extremely big ones outside of my area of expertise. However, this question would also be useful for conference organizers, interdisciplinary researchers, and academic administrators trying to avoid conference conflicts May 3, 2017 at 9:37
  • 2
    It's really tricky to see how we would fit this as a general policy into the stack exchange here, but it is a meta-worthy question if someone wants to bring it up and explore it. But because I couldn't resist, the largest conference I personally know of related to my field: is SIGGRAPH: s2016.siggraph.org/… with over 14,000 in 2016.
    – BrianH
    May 4, 2017 at 0:43
  • 1
    @BrianHall Rather than reopening, shall we move the question to meta/community wiki? I'm not exactly sure how to do this, but willing to give it a try. May 4, 2017 at 3:21


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