More plagiarism in work Swiss researcher – Nieuwscheckers

It is only three weeks since the British script expert Peter Kidd his blog published, but the revelations about the Swiss Titular professor Carla Rossi, who until the end of last year was affiliated with the University of Zurich, continues to pile up. The website of her private research institute RECEPTIO featured employees with fake profile pictures. Some of the employee profiles may be completely made up. The website contained plagiarized texts. See the detailed report our article from last week.

In this sequel, we reveal several cases of plagiarism and uncover a precursor to RECEPTIO from the Wayback Machine.

Plagiarism in academic texts

On it Academia.edu page from Rossi, on her side on Research port and in it Depot from the University of Zurich contains a 40-page French-language article on Michelangelo’s poetry, published in 2017 in Energy 9. Journal of culture news, previews, reviews. Editor-in-Chief: Carla Rossi.

The main hidden source for her article is a survey from 2004 on Michelangelo’s poems by Sorbonne professor Matteo Residori. We checked Rossi’s article for similarities with other texts using the plagiarism scanner Scribbr. The report below shows that the text corresponds no less than 77 percent to Residori’s study, but his name does not appear in it.

After comparing the two texts ourselves, we asked Residori for comments. He too concluded with surprise after comparison: ‘Rossi’s article is largely the result of extensive, systematic, literal plagiarism on my part.’

A smaller portion (6 percent, according to Scribbr) comes from a lecture by French art philosopher Jacques Darriulat, published in 2007.

Scribbr scan of 2017 article by Rossi on Michelangelo’s poetry. The passages marked in light blue (77% of the entire text) correspond to an article by Matteo Residori from 2004.

Also second article by Rossi from 2017, in Italian and also published in Energy 9, was found to be largely – about a third – based on copying without attribution. In this study, ‘Spunti di reflectione sul Vangelo di Nicodemo di André de Coutances’ (‘Sponsor for reflection on the Gospel of Nicodemus by André de Coutances’), Rossi exhausts various sourcesincluding one article on apocryphal gospels by Swiss Emeritus Professor Enzo Norelli. Norelli couldn’t believe his eyes either: ‘I’m outraged.’

Print screen Rossi paper

Article by Rossi on the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. The passages marked in orange are taken from the work of other authors without indicating the source.

Comment Rossi

Carla Rossi, asked for comment, points out as we did last week when we asked her this list of plagiarized passages filed, all claims dismissed. “You confuse the meaning of sentences with the accumulation of words in nature.” She argues that the articles were lectures, which included handouts and PowerPoint presentations, and were subsequently published as newspaper articles. ‘Go ahead, publish your scans, they will raise the hilarity of the true scientific community!’ Read my serious books, she emails, ‘not this crap on Energie9.’

This defense is ‘ridiculous’, declares Professor Norelli: Rossi has copied his text, changing at most a few words or phrases. That got us looking Energy 9.

Energie9: game with identities

Screenshot 2023-01-12 at  16.20.54

Screenshot archived website energie9.ch

The online magazine Energy 9 was according to the colophon a’Differently academically Journal of Culture News, Previews, Reviews‘,’Born at the University of Zurich‘. It is no longer online, but can still be viewed in part via Archive.org. It actually contains Rossi’s article on Michelangelo’s poems, but also in this version the name of the plagiarized Residori is not mentioned, and the quotations from his work are not in quotation marks. The second article, about the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, has not been saved from the version that was on the Energie9.ch site.

As in Rossi’s scientific and creative work, she shows in this magazine a preoccupation with identities. Energy 9 is at first glance a website of articles and news about culture, but for those who look further, it offers a multilingual game of identities and intellectual property. The editors hide on the front page behind a photo of someone who has one mirror in front of his or her face holder. Though Energy 9articles on Rossi’s Academia site list Rossi as sole editor, mentions about side van Energie9 as editor-in-chief C. La Monaca – La Monaca is the surname of Rossi’s husband. Rossi is listed as editor.

Schumann’s name game

One of the contributions, a piece of just over 200 words, about the composer Robert Schumann, has been completely copied. The author is David S. Bündler, published on October 12, 2017 under the title ‘What’s in a Name’ writes about the way Schumann played with names. ‘For Robert Schumann (1810-1856)’, the play begins, ‘everything was in one name, and his own was legion.’

This is also the opening sentence of a article from 1967 on the way the Schumanns played with names, by musicologist Eric Sams: ‘For Schumann, everything was in a name, and his own was legion.’ The following passages of Bündler’s piece are taken entirely from the music wiki Wind repertoire project. The end of Bündler’s text is again by Eric Sams.

And who is the author, David S. Bündler? His piece on Schumann shows that it is a pseudonym: it is also about the ‘Davidsbündler’, a musical society that sprung from Schumann’s imagination and that wanted to go to war with the Philistines.

‘Bündler’ contributed Energy 9 also an article about Spanish writers from the beginning of the twentieth century, to which knowledge and formulations partly originate this and this source.

Images of questionable provenance

Cover La dodicesima nota

Cover for novel by Loewenthal/Rossi

One of the employees in Energy 9 was Lev M. Loewenthal, a name Rossi used for literary publications. Loewenthal – who has Jewish, Israeli background in his fantasized biography – wrote for Energy 9 including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli poetry also serves the national cause, he claims in 2018: ‘Hebrew even has a term for this literary phenomenon: shirah meguye set (mobilized poetry), a poetry that speaks in the name of the nation and carries the patriotic flag into battle.’ That sentence is also in one article from 2014 by the Israeli poet and professor of literature Rachel Tzvia Back.

‘Loewenthal’ is not only a writer but also an artist. The short story La dodicesima nota (2017) is adorned with an image that, according to the author’s book, is: ‘Cover image: Lev Matvej Loewenthal chest violin (ink on paper)’.

An attentive one Twitter user detected an older image that looks like two drops of water: the cover image is the mirror image of a 2012 artwork by Arpan Bhandari, published on art platform DeviantArt. It’s not a mechanical copy, but the resemblance is unmistakable. The artist replied himself on Twitter: no, he had not given permission for this use of his creation.

When asked for a comment, Carla Rossi says that it is her own work, the creation of which can be seen on Loewenthal’s Facebook page.

Another image in Loewenthal’s literary work is also not original: in his collection of poems Sefer sephora, and on the publisher’s page there is a picture of a flight of birds. According to the website of the publisher, Carteggi Letterari, it is a picture made by Loewenthal (archived page). However, it is a reverse watercolor by Scottish artist Wil Freeborn, painted in 2012 a flight of Canadian geese immortalized (‘all rights reserved’). The publisher and Rossi have not responded to our questions.

Geese_v1

Watercolor by Wil Freeborn from 2012 (left, courtesy of the artist), used upside down for Loewenthal/Rossi publications in 2017 (right)

Rossi counterattacks and clears track

The historian Christopher Rolker, from the Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, is one of the researchers who saw their work reflected in Rossi’s publications. For a project proposal on intersexuality in medieval illuminated manuscripts, she copied text from two of Rolker’s blogs. Rolker documented it this week a blog post, where he also shared his experience with Rossi, who had no intention of correcting. Neither did she when she got ours last week list of copied passages was sent, which partly relates to the same project plan.

The University of Zurich (UZH) informs Nieuwscheckers that Rossi received a grant for this project in spring 2022 from Stiftung fürwisschaftliche Forschung an der Universität Zurich (StwF), in the amount of 30,000 Swiss francs (almost 30,000 euros). The spokesman for UZH is neither able nor willing to say whether this money was awarded on the basis of the public, plagiarized project plan. UZH is conducting an internal investigation into the matter, StwF is independent of the university, but will wait for the outcome before taking any action.

Rossi published on January 9 a defense on 23 pages, in which she threatens critics with lawsuits and describes the accusations against her as a smear campaign. It is said to have been triggered by Rossi’s reporting in December to the heritage protection department of the Italian carabinieri of a German who was secretly dealing in manuscript fragments.

But despite all the denials, Rossi is working on the spot RECEPTION erase traces of her plagiarism. The previous version of the project plan on intersexuality (archived page) was an English-language patchwork of unmarked quotations. The current version (archived) is considerably shorter and in Italian. Almost all plagiarized passages have been deleted.

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