Power-law statistics and universal scaling in the absence of criticality.
Jonathan Touboul and Alain Destexhe.

Physical Review E 95: 012413, 2017.

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Critical states are sometimes identified experimentally through power-law statistics or universal scaling functions. We show here that such features naturally emerge from networks in self-sustained irregular regimes away from criticality. In these regimes, statistical physics theory of large interacting systems predict a regime where the nodes have independent and identically distributed dynamics. We thus investigated the statistics of a system in which units are replaced by independent stochastic surrogates, and found the same power-law statistics, indicating that these are not sufficient to establish criticality. We rather suggest that these are universal features of large-scale networks when considered macroscopically. These results put caution on the interpretation of scaling laws found in nature.