Community detection in networks: Structural communities versus ground truth

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Algorithms to find communities in networks rely just on structural information and search for cohesive subsets of nodes. On the other hand, most scholars implicitly or explicitly assume that structural communities represent groups of nodes with similar (nontopological) properties or functions. This hypothesis could not be verified, so far, because of the lack of network datasets with information on the classification of the nodes. We show that traditional community detection methods fail to find the metadata groups in many large networks. Our results show that there is a marked separation between structural communities and metadata groups, in line with recent findings. That means that either our current modeling of community structure has to be substantially modified, or that metadata groups may not be recoverable from topology alone.


Original languageEnglish
Article number062805
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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