ATLAS comprises 3000 scientific authors from about 180 institutions around the world, representing 38 countries from all the world’s populated continents. It is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in science. Almost 1200 doctoral students are involved in detector development, data collection and analysis. The collaboration depends on the efforts of countless engineers, technicians and administrative staff.
ATLAS elects its leadership and has an organizational structure that allows teams to self-manage, and members to be directly involved in decision-making processes. Scientists usually work in small groups, choosing the research areas and data that interest them most. Any output from the collaboration is shared by all members and is subject to rigorous review and fact-checking processes before results are made public. The success of the collaboration is bound by individual commitment to physics and the prospect of exciting new results that can only be achieved with a complete and coherent collaborative effort.
The only way to realize such a challenging project, with the required intellectual and financial resources, and to maximize its scientific output is through international collaboration. Large project funds are investments from funding agencies of countries participating in ATLAS. There are also contributions from CERN, and some resources from individual universities.