Okay I'm trying to do the math in my head, and after Tier 1 the DOFF requirements have gone to insane levels. 60 DOFFs for 1k Science EXP? That is ... brutal to say the least. I run a small fleet, but a good active fleet. I think it would take something like 100+ active members to keep up with that sort of demand on a starbase... I don't think any such fleet exists?
Unless there is a trick to this doff farming that I am unaware of?
Trick to doff farming is alts. One character parked at the academy can generate ~30 doffs a week if you keep up with the cooldowns. Those can then be mailed to a main.
That used to be the old way to generate fodder for the compactor to squeeze them all down to a purple or two a week, but now it's the way to keep up with the personnel demands of a starbase.
As a side tip, for a small fleet, I'd suggest staying away from special projects for the most part. They're short, good grinders to generate fleet credit, but they give very little XP and no provisions, they'll just strain your resources.
As for the fleet size, yes, such fleets exist. The fleet I'm in now, before I joined periodically hit its cap and closed recruitment despite having regular inactivity purges, and even in off peak hours we got the starbase tier 1 upgrade filled and running in a bit over an hour, and that was with some fairly strict contribution limits. Those are the sort of fleets that special projects are meant for, since even grinding through them constantly it's only been an occasional strain (like the other day when the base decided it needed eighteen chefs).