Reconstructing gene regulatory networks from high-throughput data is a long-standing problem. Through the DREAM project (Dialogue on Reverse Engineering Assessment and Methods), we performed a comprehensive blind assessment of over thirty network inference methods on Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and in silico microarray data. We characterize performance, data requirements, and inherent biases of different inference approaches offering guidelines for both algorithm application and development. We observe that no single inference method performs optimally across all datasets. In contrast, integration of predictions from multiple inference methods shows robust and high performance across diverse datasets. Thereby, we construct high-confidence networks for E. coli and S. aureus, each comprising ~1700 transcriptional interactions at an estimated precision of 50%. We experimentally test 53 novel interactions in E. coli, of which 23 were supported (43%). Our results establish community-based methods as a powerful and robust tool for the inference of transcriptional gene regulatory networks.