G. A. Wade, Royal Military College of CanadaFollow
C. Neiner, Sorbonne Universités
E. Alecian, Sorbonne Universites
H. H. Grunhunt, European Organization for Astronomical Research
V. Petit, Florida Institute of Technology
B. Batz, Sorbonne Universites
D. A. Bohlender, National Research Council of Canada
D. H. Cohen, Swarthmore College
H. F. Henrichs, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
O. Kochukhov, Uppsala University
J. D. Landstreet, University of Western Ontario
N. Manset, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation
F. Martins, Universite de Montpellier
S. Mathis, Sorbonne Universites
M. E. Oksala, Sorbonne Universites
S. P. Owocki, University of Delaware
Th. Rivinius, European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere
M. E. Schultz, Royal Military College of Canada
J. O. Sundqvist, University of Delaware
R. H.D. Townsend, University of Wisconsin Madison
A. Doula, Penn State Worthington Scranton
J. C. Bouret, Aix Marseille Universite
J. Braithwaite, Argelander Institut fur Astronomie
M. Briquet, Sorbonne Universites
A. C. Carciofi, Universidade de Sao Paulo
A. David-Uraz, Royal Military College of Canada
C. P. Folsom, Institut de Planetologie
A. W. Fullerton, Space Telescope Science Institute
B. Leroy, Observatoire de Paris
W. L.F. Marcolino, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
A. F.J. Moffat, Universite de Montreal
Y. Naze, Universite de Liege
N. St Louis, Universite de Montreal
M. Auriere, Universite de Toulouse
S. Bagnulo, Armagh Observatory
J. D. Bailey, Max Planck Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik
R. H. Barba, Universidad de La Serena
A. Blazere, Sorbonne Universites
T. Bohm, Universite de Toulouse
C. Catala, PSL Research University
J-F Donati
L. Ferrario, Australian National University
D. Harrington, University of Hawaii
I. D. Howarth, University College London
Richard Ignace, East Tennessee State UniversityFollow
L. Kaper, University of Amsterdamn
T. Luftinger, University of Vienna
R. Prinja, University College London
J. S. Vink, Armagh Observatory
W. W. Weiss, University of Vienna
I. Yakunin, Russian Academy of Sciences

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The MiMeS (Magnetism in Massive Stars) project is a large-scale, high-resolution, sensitive spectropolarimetric investigation of the magnetic properties of O- and early B-type stars. Initiated in 2008 and completed in 2013, the project was supported by three Large Program allocations, as well as various programmes initiated by independent principal investigators, and archival resources. Ultimately, over 4800 circularly polarized spectra of 560 O and B stars were collected with the instruments ESPaDOnS (Echelle SpectroPolarimetric Device for the Observation of Stars) at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope, Narval at the Télescope Bernard Lyot and HARPSpol at the European Southern Observatory La Silla 3.6 m telescope, making MiMeS by far the largest systematic investigation of massive star magnetism ever undertaken. In this paper, the first in a series reporting the general results of the survey, we introduce the scientific motivation and goals, describe the sample of targets, review the instrumentation and observational techniques used, explain the exposure time calculation designed to provide sensitivity to surface dipole fields above approximately 100 G, discuss the polarimetric performance, stability and uncertainty of the instrumentation, and summarize the previous and forthcoming publications.

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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. © 2016 The Royal Astronomical Society. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.