Congress Guidelines

Guidelines for organising an International Congress on Acoustics, adopted by the Commission 15 February 2015

These guidelines are divided into three sections:

A. General

B. Timeline. The sequence of events in organising the International Congress on Acoustics.

C. Action items. Detailed instruction for the Organising Committee.



The purpose of the International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) is to promote international development and collaboration in all fields of acoustics including research, development, education and standardisation.

Means for the Commission to fulfill its mission are:

  1. to maintain close contacts with national and regional acoustical societies and associations as well as other relevant professional organisations and seek consensus in matters of mutual interest.
    to provide an information service on societies, congresses, symposia, etc., research and education organisations in the field of acoustics.
    to take a pro- active role in co-ordinating the main international meetings within acoustics.
  2. to convene the International Congresses on Acoustics in accordance with the Commission's guidelines and to act as the International Advisory Committee for these congresses.
  3. to sponsor or co-sponsor other topical and special international conferences normally in close cooperation with national and/or regional organisations and to give financial support (grants or guarantees), as a grant to organising committees for such meetings or as a travel grant to participants.


The International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) initiates and sponsors International Congresses in countries of its Member Societies. There is a long planning cycle for every International Congress on Acoustics. Based on proposals to hold future congresses, the Commission Board invites a member society to undertake the organisation of a congress.

The final decision by the Board to extend an invitation is made six years in advance.

In these guidelines, C is the year during which a future International Congress is to be held. The preceding year is identified as C-1, etc. These guidelines describe the events and data that have to be prepared and presented to the Commission Board and to others.


All legal and financial responsibilities in connection with the International Congress on Acoustics rest with the Member Society which has accepted the invitation to organise the Congress.

[Go to Section A or Section C of the Guidelines]



In year C-8, the Board selects the geographical regions for the Congress. In year C-7, Member Societies in those regions are invited to submit a preliminary proposal to the Commission Board to host the International Congress on Acoustics. A representative for the inviting society is not required to present the preliminary proposal to the Board. A Member Society may be selected as a host if the professional acoustical activities in the potential host country are sufficiently well-developed that active participation by 800 or more registrants at the Congress can reasonably be expected.

Preliminary proposals may have the form of a letter of intent. This proposal should be no more than 2 pages and include the following:

  1. proposed chair for the Congress
  2. proposed technical program chair(s)
  3. the proposed city in the host country
  4. proposed dates for the Congress

The Board considers the preliminary proposals and selects those to be invited to present a formal proposal in year C-6. The formal proposal, on which the Board's decision in year C-6 will be based, must be complete. A representative for the inviting society is expected to present their proposal to the Board.

Information to be included in the formal proposal:

  1. the proposed city and transportation access
  2. the proposed site (e.g. a hotel, university, or conference center)
  3. the proposed dates with possible alternatives
  4. the expected number of registrants
  5. the availability of local society members who could support the running of the Congress
  6. the proposed General Chairman
  7. the proposed Technical Programme Chairman
  8. tentative budget information including estimated congress fee
  9. accommodation options and travelling information for participants

The following sub-sections give detailed information on the requirements of the International Congress on Acoustics.

B1.1 Dates, Location and Duration of the International Congress on Acoustics

The dates of the International Congress shall be chosen so as not to conflict with or overlap other major international meetings on acoustics. Conflicts with major religious holidays as well as national festivals and bank holidays should also be avoided, if possible.

It is important to choose the dates and the meeting place so that hotel expenses for participants are reasonable. This means that it may be necessary to hold the congress in an off-season for tourist travel, rather than during peak vacation periods. Negotiations with the hotels are important so that the congress can offer/guarantee the lowest prices to the participants. There should also be a range of hotels and lodgings at different prices close to the venue.

The duration of the International Congress on Acoustics is limited to five days, normally starting on a Monday.

B1.2 Number of Registered Participants

The anticipated number of registrants, all of whom are expected to pay the same fee with exception for students and retired persons, is of utmost importance for the planning of the International Congress on Acoustics. It is a number that is difficult to estimate in advance of a Congress but the budget as well as the number and sizes of meeting rooms depends on this figure. It is important to make a qualified estimate. It is also important to note that one feature of the ICA is the high attendance of students who pay a lower fee. If the estimate is for N total registrants, including approximately 30% students but excluding exhibitor personnel and accompanying persons, it is wise to have a budget which will break even (no deficit or surplus) with revenues from 0.75N registrants and an arrangement of meeting rooms which is sufficient to accommodate 1.5N registrants.


During year C-6, one or more Member Societies present their formal proposals to the Board of the International Commission for Acoustics to host a future International Congress. An electronic version of the bid (single pdf with file size less than 5 MB) must be transmitted by the defined date to the Secretary General for distribution to the members of the Board in advance of the Board meeting so that they may familiarise themselves with its contents. The decision on the venue for the International Congress is made at the annual meeting of the Commission Board in year C-6.


B3.1 Presentations to the Commission Board

The General Chairman of the International Congress (or his designated representative) is required to attend the annual meetings of the Commission Board in years C-5 to C. At these meetings, the General Chairman shall make presentations concerning the planning for the International Congress.

The General Chairman may seek the Board's advice on any matter related to the Congress.

At the meetings of the Board in year C-5 and C-4, the General Chairman shall give an overview of planning for the congress, including:

  1. A draft of the Announcement and Call for Papers.
  2. A listing of the members of the Organising Committee and a description of the duties assigned to each person.
  3. A preliminary budget for the Congress, including the proposed registration fees and the estimated number of registrants.
  4. A review of all significant advance planning items for the Congress.

At the meetings of the Board in year C-3, C-2 and C-1, the General Chairman shall give an overview of planning for the Congress, including:

  1. The schedule for final publicity.
  2. The income and expense budget for the congress.
  3. A status report on the technical program.
  4. A request for information concerning committee meeting rooms that will be needed before, during and after the Congress.
  5. A review of all significant advance planning items for the Congress.

B3.2 Announcements

The Organising Committee is requested to set up a home website 36 months before the Congress and keep it updated and complete until the Congress is over. The primary means for promotion of the Congress should be via the website and email.

1st Announcement (36 months before the Congress)

  1. The dates and place of the Congress.
  2. The date when the 2nd Announcement and Call for Papers will be available.
  3. Invitation for those interested to be added to the email listing.

This announcement shall be sent to:

  1. All known acoustics publications in the world.
  2. The information service of the International Commission for Acoustics.
  3. The Member Societies
  4. Participants of the Congress held that year.

2nd Announcement (18 months before the congress)

This announcement shall include:

  1. The dates and place of the Congress.
  2. Topics which will be emphasized at the Congress.
  3. Possible information about distinguished and plenary papers.
  4. Preliminary information for early planning purposes about accommodation, including dormitories (or similar inexpensive accommodations), middle-class hotels, and luxury hotels.
  5. Travelling information and advice. Official carrier if appointed.
  6. Invitation for those interested to be added to the email listing.

This announcement shall be sent to:

  1. The Member Societies.
  2. The information service of the International Commission for Acoustics.
  3. All names on mailing lists available to the Organising Committee of persons and institutions known to be interested in acoustics.
  4. The announcement shall be included in the Congress website.

It may be expedient to ask the Member Societies to distribute the announcement within their own acoustical societies. The announcement should also be sent directly to the participants of the past Congress using email list.

3rd Announcement with Advance Program and General Information (12 months before the Congress)

The 3rd Announcement is the Call for Papers. It shall be sent to all persons who have registered or requested the Advance Programme. The mailing list for the 3rd Announcement shall include the mailing list for the 1st and 2nd Announcements as well as other persons and organisations expressing an interest.

From this stage, the website should include the following detailed information on the Congress:

  1. Advance programme giving information about the Distinguished Lectures, General Papers and Invited Special Papers. It is furthermore important to give information about the topics to be covered in special sessions and relevant information about the contributed papers.
  2. Information about contributed papers and the deadline for the receipt of abstracts. The statement that the official language of the Congress is English.
  3. Congress registration form including information about the registration fee and instructions concerning the procedure to be followed for transfer of funds to cover the registration fee.
  4. Hotel reservation details.
  5. Instructions for obtaining a visa.
  6. Information about the technical exhibition.
  7. General information about the Congress and the city in which the Congress takes place.
  8. Social activities and tours of interest to participants and their accompanying persons.


The following timetable for the handling of papers is recommended:

  1. Deadline for the receipt of abstracts: 6-9 months before the opening of the Congress.
  2. Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 5-8 months before the opening of the Congress.
  3. Deadline for the receipt of complete manuscripts: To be decided by the Organising committee based on the planning schedule.


B5.1 3rd Announcement. See above.

B5.2 Congress program

A program with titles and, if possible, the abstracts should be available from the website at least 3 weeks before the Congress.

B5.3 Presentations to the Commission Board

At the meeting of the Board held at the time of the International Congress, the General Chairman shall give an overview of the planning for the Congress, including:

  1. The schedule of events for the Congress with details on what is expected of members of the Board.
  2. A report on abstracts received, abstracts accepted, manuscripts received for the proceedings, the number of pre-registrants, and a preliminary count of the total number of registrants.


Final report shall be submitted to the Commission Board including information about the congress statistics, finances, etc. together with any important advice to be given to future Congress organisers and address lists to be used by future Congress organisers.

[Go to Section A or Section B of the Guidelines]


Section C provides detailed instruction for the Organising Committee.


The official language of the International Congress on Acoustics is English.


The appointment of the General Chairman, the Technical Programme Chairman and the composition of the Organising Committee of the International Congress on Acoustics shall be approved by the Board before public announcement of the Congress. The General Chairman of the International Congress or a designated alternate shall be present at the Congress held in C-3. The General Chairman will be invited to participate in the annual meetings of the Commission Board.


It is established practice to have the International Advisory Committee (IAC) to assist the Organising Committee. The International Advisory Committee shall be balanced on a world-wide basis with each committee member selected to represent one of the countries with a Member Society. The composition of the IAC should consist of 10-20 members. The IAC assists the Organising Committee with promotion of the Congress. The members of the IAC may provide proposals for distinguished lecturers, survey papers and invited papers, and may be appointed to serve as chairmen of the individual sessions of the International Congress.


Only papers which treat subjects in acoustics as listed in the PACS Classification of Subjects are acceptable for presentation at the International Congress on Acoustics. Although contributions in all areas of acoustics may be accepted, the International Congress may feature special topics which are of particular interest at the time of the Congress.


The following types of papers are appropriate for the International Congress:

  1. Distinguished lectures. These are presentations which are 40-50 minutes in duration and are presented in Plenary Sessions by outstanding individuals. There may be distinguished lectures covering a broad range of topics within acoustics.
  2. Key note papers. These are invited papers and may be presented in maximum two parallel sessions.
  3. Invited papers by the chairs of special sessions and presented within the normal program.
  4. Contributed papers for oral or poster presentation. Presenters of poster papers are expected to remain at their posters for the entire announced duration of the poster session.

If the number of abstracts of contributed papers exceeds the number which the Organising Committee considers reasonable for oral presentation, it is the responsibility of the Organising Committee to move a sufficient number of papers to poster sessions.

C6. Acceptance of Papers

All abstracts and the subsequent manuscripts should be screened to reject contributions that are clearly irrelevant, inferior, or too commercial. All contributed papers should describe new work which has not previously been presented in the same manner at a scientific conference or published in an archival, refereed journal. Because some organisations require a more formal review of proceedings articles before conference attendance can be authorized, it is recommended that the Organising Committee provide an optional peer review of manuscripts. To allow for the time needed for the conference paper review process, the submission deadline for those seeking optional peer review can be earlier than the general submission deadline.

A contributed paper can only be accepted if one registration fee has been paid before or at the time of the deadline for the receipt of the manuscript. It is strongly recommended that no exceptions be made to this rule.

A paper shall be excluded from the program and the manuscript shall be omitted from the proceedings if the manuscript and accompanying payment of the registration fee is not received before the deadline.

For a paper of any type, it is not acceptable to print in the Proceedings only the author's name, the title of the paper and a summary. This also applies to poster papers. For inclusion in the program, as well as for an oral presentation, the author's manuscripts must be included in the Proceedings.

C7. Sessions

The following sessions are held during the International Congress on Acoustics:

  1. Opening (First Day) Plenary Session. The Opening Plenary Session on the morning of the first day, to which all participants and accompanying persons are invited, is a major event of the International Congress on Acoustics. It is up to the organising committee to prepare an appropriate programme. The programme shall include an address by the Commission President.
  2. Plenary Sessions (on Second and following Days). Invited general Lectures are given during these sessions, normally as the initial events in the morning. Two general lectures on very different subjects may be held in parallel.
  3. Technical Sessions. Contributed papers and invited papers for organised structured sessions are presented at technical sessions. A limit of 10 to 12 parallel sessions is preferred.
  4. Presentation of Posters. Authors of papers presented in Poster Sessions may - if the Organising Committee finds it desirable - be allotted 2 - 5 minutes each for presentation of the key findings of their papers. The Organising Committee should take steps to ensure that poster sessions run on time. Adequate time (2 - 3 hours) should be reserved for discussions at the display posters.
  5. Closing Plenary Session. The Closing Plenary Session, to which all participants and accompanying persons are invited, is another major event of the International Congress on Acoustics. Sufficient time should be allocated for the following three presentations:
    1. Thank you by the General Chairman to the Organising Committee, the Conference Secretariat, the members of the staff, and others as appropriate.
    2. Thank you by the Commission President to the host society.
    3. Invitation to participate at the next International Congress by the General Chairman of that Congress.

C8. Subject Classification System

The PACS classification system shall be used for all papers.

C9. Paper-Presentation Timing System

A timing system shall be used to keep the parallel sessions synchronised in order for participants to change from session to session so that they may listen to the papers of greatest interest to them.

C10. Abstracts

An abstract and manuscript are required for each invited and contributed paper. The abstract shall be limited to 200 words. The corresponding author of an abstract shall give a complete mailing address, telephone number, email address, and one or two subject classification numbers under which the paper may be classified. The abstract and manuscript must be submitted in the format required by the template.

C11. Instructions to Authors

At the same time that the authors are informed of the acceptance of their papers, they shall also be informed about the following:

  1. The number of pages or file size limitation for the manuscript.
  2. The registration fee for the Congress must be submitted for each paper. The author shall be informed that failure to submit the registration fee for the Congress with the manuscript means that the paper will not be included in the Proceedings and that a presentation will not be scheduled for the Congress. while it should not be encouraged, the organisers should establish a fee for second and subsequent papers presented by the same author.
  3. If an author is prevented from participating in the International Congress to personally present his paper, the author must inform the Organising Committee as soon as possible by email and not later than 15 days before the opening day of the Congress. If an author wishes to ask a colleague to read his paper, the Organising Committee shall be informed of the name and email of the colleague. Such substitution is acceptable only if the colleague is acquainted with the contents of the paper to such a degree that questions on the paper after its presentation can be answered. In any case, it is completely unacceptable and highly unprofessional for an author to fail to appear at the time scheduled for the paper to be presented without notifying the Organising Committee well in advance.
  4. All authors shall prepare their presentations in such a form that all persons in the meeting room will be able to read the text and see the drawings clearly.
  5. If an abstract is accepted for poster presentation, the author shall be provided with detailed information about the display panels, the timing and duration of the poster sessions and the need to prepare an oral synopsis (if any).

C12. Meeting Rooms

One meeting room shall have a capacity corresponding to at least 80% of the estimated number of registered participants (N) plus accompanying persons. The capacity and number of other rooms depend on the number of parallel sessions and the estimated number of registered participants. Do not estimate the minimum size of the rooms needed for parallel sessions by dividing the number of parallel sessions into the estimated number of registered participants. There will usually be an uneven distribution of the participants in the individual parallel sessions. Some will have many participants, others will have few. Contact the Organising Committees of previous International Congresses on Acoustics and request the room seating figures that were assigned for each parallel session and any information concerning "standing room only" sessions.

C13. Committee Rooms

A number of committees usually hold meetings in conjunction with the International Congress on Acoustics. The Organising Committee shall ascertain the number and size of the meeting rooms that will be needed for the committees, and make suitable arrangements for these rooms to be available. The chairperson of each committee requesting a room shall be notified in writing of the location of the room and the hours that it is available.

C14. Projection of Screen

The dimensions of the screen used for projection shall be sufficiently large to insure that the text can be read from the back of the room. The width of the screen shall preferably be at least 1/6 of the distance from the screen to the most distant spectator.

C15. Instructions to Chair of Sessions

It is established practice for each technical session to have two chairpersons, one a foreign participant and the other a participant from the host country. It is important that the session chairpersons get proper instructions concerning their responsibilities. Chairpersons should be selected to ensure a wide representation of countries. The chairs should be provided with a form to keep a record of the attendance and of any 'no shows' in their sessions. This form is to be collected by the Organisers and the data used in the compilation of the statistics for the Congress.

C16. Proceedings

The Proceedings of the Congress must be available for distribution at the registration desk prior to the Opening Session of the Congress. A copy of the Proceedings on a CD or USB stick must be provided to all registrants.

The program should be available from the website. It is also recommended that itinerary planning software be available. A hard copy or booklet should be available for registrants or this can be on request.

The abstracts summary should be included on the CD or USB as well as on the web and itinerary planning software.

The International Standard Serial Number assigned to the International Congress on Acoustics Proceedings, for CD-Rom/DVD/USB formats, is ISSN 2226-7808. This number shall preferably be printed in the top right hand corner of the front cover of each volume or in another conspicuous place. Other numbers, such as an ISBN or National Library catalogue number, should also be arranged by the Organising Committee.

C17. Registration Desk

It is recommended that the registration desk be open on the day preceding the Congress at least from 12.00 to 20.00 hours.

C18. Technical Exhibition

It is highly desirable that a technical trade exhibition of equipment, materials, and instruments be organised in connection with the International Congress on Acoustics. The location of the exhibition hall with respect to the meeting rooms for the parallel technical sessions should be carefully planned to maximise the flow of participants through the exhibition area. Refreshments served in the exhibition area will tend to increase the flow of participants past the exhibits.

C19. Technical Visits

The Organising Committee may arrange technical visits of scientific and technical interest on an optional basis. Technical visits should preferably be arranged before the opening of the Congress or after the closing of the Congress. Technical visits on a Congress meeting day will reduce the number of attendees at technical sessions and are not recommended if they are in any way in competition with simultaneous technical sessions.

C20. Associated Symposia

Any associated symposia or meeting shall be approved in advance by the Commission Board or, in exceptional cases, by the ICA President before announcement. Such symposia shall be planned at the same time as the International Congress since a proper coordination of programme, time and place of the symposia is of critical importance. Associated symposia shall have their own organising committees, budgets and secretariats. The registration fees for satellite symposia shall be approved by the Commission Board or the ICA President in advance.

C21. Services

  1. Registration desk. The number of assistants at the registration desk shall be sufficient so that participants can secure prompt service. An assistant's unfamiliarity with a participant's native language may result in a slow-down in service. If the native language of the host country is English, a special registration desk may be provided for host-country participants. A special registration desk shall be provided for participants who have not registered in advance by mail, so that those who have pre-registered are not delayed by those who have not pre-registered.
  2. Bank service. The registration fee must be paid in the currency in which the registration fee is stated. It is of great help to the participants if the services of a commercial bank are provided close to the registration desk.
  3. Information, tourist and travel service. A desk for information, tourist and travel service should be provided.
  4. It is highly recommended to offer congress participants the option to read and send their emails. There should be free wireless access throughout the Congress venue.
  5. Emergency service. A contact email and telephone number should be given in the advance programme, thus making it possible for families of participants to send messages in emergencies.
  6. Coffee/tea service. The Organising Committee should plan the sessions with a break of 20 to 25 minutes duration, both during the morning and afternoon sessions. It is highly appreciated by the exhibitors if the coffee/tea service is located in the exhibit area.
  7. Eating facilities. The Organising Committee should provide information about restaurants and other eating places in the neighbourhood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

C22. Registration Fees

It is strongly recommended that the Organising Committee communicate with the organisers of previous International Congresses before a draft budget is prepared and request information concerning the budgets and actual income and expenses of these previous Congresses. The budget should not include financial support (including funds for travel or living expenses) for distinguished or invited lecturers, or for participants from countries with currency exchange restrictions or economic problems. If the Organising Committee wishes to give financial support to such participants at the International Congress on Acoustics, the necessary resources should not be charged to the account of the Congress, but should be obtained from other sources (e g IUPAP) to provide for the travel and living expenses for such individuals.

The registration fees shall be approved by the Board before they are announced. The policy of the International Commission for Acoustics requires that the presenting author be registered for the Congress for the manuscript to be included in the Program and Proceedings. If a presenting author seeks to present additional papers, then a special 'additional paper' fee shall be applied.

A reduced early registration fee may be offered as an inducement for early registration. The deadline for receipt of the reduced fee should coincide with the date on which the manuscripts are to be received from the authors for the Proceedings. There should be a lower fee for students and retired persons. In setting their registration fees, organisers should allow for the ICA transfer discussed in section C23 below.

C23. Finances and Budget

The Organising Committee shall prepare a break-even budget based on an attendance of 0.75N, where N is the estimated number of registered participants. The budget should contain sufficient detail so that each significant item of income and expense is a separate line item. In order to reach a break-even budget, it is recommended that the Organising Committee keep the number of complimentary registrations to a minimum. While the registration fees for Distinguished Lecturers may be waived, the registration fees should not be waived for participants who have submitted abstracts for invited or contributed papers.

The Organizing Committee shall transfer five percent (5%) of the registration fees to the International Commission for Acoustics for each full Congress delegate (i.e., excluding students and retired rate delegates). This contribution to the ICA should be transferred to the ICA bank account not later than six months after the end of the Congress and it should be free of charges, taxes, bank charges, etc.

[Go to Section A or Section B or Section C of the Guidelines]