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Consider a set of correlated sources located at the nodes of a network, and a set of sinks that are the destinations for some of the sources. The minimization of cost functions which are the product of a function of the rate and a function of the path weight is considered, for both the data-gathering scenario, which is relevant in sensor networks, and general traffic matrices, relevant for general networks. The minimization is achieved by jointly optimizing a) the transmission structure, which is shown to consist in general of a superposition of trees, and b) the rate allocation across the source nodes, which is done by Slepian-Wolf coding. The overall minimization can be achieved in two concatenated steps. First, the optimal transmission structure is found, which in general amounts to finding a Steiner tree, and second, the optimal rate allocation is obtained by solving an optimization problem with cost weights determined by the given optimal transmission structure, and with linear constraints given by the Slepian-Wolf rate region. For the case of data gathering, the optimal transmission structure is fully characterized and a closed-form solution for the optimal rate allocation is provided. For the general case of an arbitrary traffic matrix, the problem of finding the optimal transmission structure is NP-complete. For large networks, in some simplified scenarios, the total costs associated with Slepian-Wolf coding and explicit communication (conditional encoding based on explicitly communicated side information) are compared. Finally, the design of decentralized algorithms for the optimal rate allocation is analyzed.