Explainability in Graph Neural Networks: A Taxonomic Survey. Academic Article uri icon


  • Deep learning methods are achieving ever-increasing performance on many artificial intelligence tasks. A major limitation of deep models is that they are not amenable to interpretability. This limitation can be circumvented by developing post hoc techniques to explain predictions, giving rise to the area of explainability. Recently, explainability of deep models on images and texts has achieved significant progress. In the area of graph data, graph neural networks (GNNs) and their explainability are experiencing rapid developments. However, there is neither a unified treatment of GNN explainability methods, nor a standard benchmark and testbed for evaluations. In this survey, we provide a unified and taxonomic view of current GNN explainability methods. Our unified and taxonomic treatments of this subject shed lights on the commonalities and differences of existing methods and set the stage for further methodological developments. To facilitate evaluations, we provide a testbed for GNN explainability, including datasets, common algorithms and evaluation metrics. Furthermore, we conduct comprehensive experiments to compare and analyze the performance of many techniques. Altogether, this work provides a unified methodological treatment of GNN explainability and a standardized testbed for evaluations.

published proceedings

  • IEEE Trans Pattern Anal Mach Intell

author list (cited authors)

  • Yuan, H., Yu, H., Gui, S., & Ji, S.

citation count

  • 60

complete list of authors

  • Yuan, Hao||Yu, Haiyang||Gui, Shurui||Ji, Shuiwang

publication date

  • May 2023