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Automated community detection is an important problem in the study of complex networks. The idea of community detection is closely related to the concept of data clustering in pattern recognition. Data clustering refers to the task of grouping similar objects and segregating dissimilar objects. The community detection problem can be thought of as finding groups of densely interconnected nodes with few connections to nodes outside the group. A node similarity measure is proposed here that finds the similarity between two nodes by considering both neighbors and non-neighbors of these two nodes. Subsequently, a method is introduced for identifying communities in complex networks using this node similarity measure and the notion of data clustering. The significant characteristic of the proposed method is that it does not need any prior knowledge about the actual communities of a network. Extensive experiments on several real world and artificial networks with known ground-truth communities are reported. The proposed method is compared with various state of the art community detection algorithms by using several criteria, viz. normalized mutual information, f-measure etc. Moreover, it has been successfully applied in improving the effectiveness of a recommender system which is rapidly becoming a crucial tool in e-commerce applications. The empirical results suggest that the proposed technique has the potential to improve the performance of a recommender system and hence it may be useful for other e-commerce applications.