Dr. Paula R. Curtis Profile picture
Dec 28, 2022 83 tweets 28 min read Read on X
Okay, so #Receptiogate is trending in multiple countries. If you missed the beginning of this (still unfolding) drama over plagiarized research, fake research institutes, and medieval manuscripts, here's a compilation to get you started with your bowl of popcorn. ⬇️🍿
There's so many subthreads and additions to various things from the Twitter community that I'll inevitably miss some stuff stuff (and some is slightly out of chronological order), but here it goes!
This began with Peter Kidd (@mssprovenance), an independent scholar, finding that portions of his work on his blog and in other formal published venues had been taken without credit by a woman named Carla Rossi of Receptio. He wrote about it on his blog:
He also contacted the so-called Receptio institute and received denials from a (alleged) secretary and immediate threats of legal action against the accusation. "I regret to inform you that blogs are not scientific texts, published by academic publishers, so their value is nil!"
Twitterati began to notice that different elements of the Receptio website were suspect, such as stock photos used for their board members/staff:
Many also used repeated stock backgrounds photoshopped behind each person, which are hilariously obvious.
The physical address of the business also seemed to be suspect:
And the image that showed their logo on a sign was, uh..... also not quite legit.
At this point Peter updated his blog to reflect that Receptio's website was being frantically edited and some of the images changed or removed to try to erase any evidence of having stolen his work or used fake people.
Peter laid out these changes in his second blog post the next day, which I encourage everyone to visit for details: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
More investigation found that all of the images of offices were also stock photos:
And Peter put these crumbs of chaos together as any good researcher would do and placed them in a blog post on the 26th: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
Also, PDFs of pubs that were previously available on the site began to disappear.
Meanwhile, Twitter sleuths were finding other publications full of stolen content:
And Rossi also started adding things about the "alleged" plagiarism on her Academia page, because Twitter wasn't enough punishment or drama:
Peter breaks some of this down here in his third blog post: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
Some of the images that were used without permission were suddenly converted to black and white:
While others were altered in saturation/lightness, and Rossi claimed had been colorized.
Peter also tackles this question of colorized pictures with a blog post, where he continues to be unflappable and very measured in his responses and use of evidence: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
Here's more examples of likely misusing images without permission (@Hallfiry is on fire at all times, someone recruit him for the #GlassOnion sequel):
Honestly, medievalists and philologists are not to be fucked with. They are tearing everything apart and finding where content has been stolen:
Peter writes more about the plagiarism here: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
Well-known scholars discover that their faces have been used on the website and they had no idea they were part of "Receptio":
The Receptio Committee page keeps getting frantically edited and updated, including listing someone who died last year. There are two people with the same name, so maybe not that guy? But Wayback Machine shows the dead guy's picture...
David La Monaca, Rossi's husband, an IT guy, enters the chat. He sends Peter insulting messages.
La Monaca also sets up a bot account to spam Peter with emails to intimidate him, which seems, uh, real mature. Note the burglar userpic.
La Monaca then sets up a Twitter account to try to troll everyone who is now very invested in #Receptiogate. He even uses the same burglar image, which makes the fact that he is also responsible for the bot emails very very obvious:
Investigation of the bot emails also reveals La Monaca's company email was used to set them up:
The not-so-anon twitter account goes about as well as you'd think, with La Monaca spouting threats and attempting to doxx Peter (and making it more obvious who he is).
He also managed use some homophobic slurs while he was at it!
La Monaca also showed photographs of what he claims are police reports being filed against Peter, which would really be some choice irony. His Twitter account is quickly locked for doxxing and hate speech.
Today's exciting development is that one of the threatening emails sent to Peter was in fact produced using ChatGPT. But the internet is a garbage fire.
That is, to my knowledge, #Receptiogate to date, roughly summarized. I repeat: do not fuck with medievalists.
Also, I should add that not only is this being investigated by the University of Zurich (where Rossi was previously affiliated), but it's making the news across Europe as well. She may have used this fake institute to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Always remember, folks: Cite your sources. And, well, if you put as much work into actually doing the thing as you did faking the thing, you might actually end up being a legitimate scholar.
To answer a question that a number of people have asked over the last few days: some folks *do* say they have met Rossi in person or online and she is, in fact, a real human being. Any further scam implications are have yet to be determined.
There is also a great thread breakdown in great detail currently underway by @Stewart_Brookes on the images used without permission and then altered to hide the evidence:
(I know I also linked it above, but it's getting longer and more fascinating!)
Listen y'all, I don't have a soundcloud. But this was a special request so I'll leave it here. 😂: redbubble.com/shop/ap/135970… Image
And the slightly more public friendly version: redbubble.com/shop/ap/135971…
(I promise the gains from Red Bubble are nowhere near $500,000 either)
Okay, as someone who actually researches forgeries and fraud, I can't help but share that it really would be the icing on the cake for Receptio to have plagiarized Levi's work on forgery:
In an unexpected turn of events, said committee member is *not* the dead guy, but is, in fact, giving off undead or possible hostage situation vibes in a Youtube video defense of Rossi.
.@mssprovenance has noted that hey, you can (and should!) donate to the Wayback Machine! This site does a lot for researchers and regular folks, whether they're seeking accountability, sustainability, or just information in pursuit of digital forensics.
Speaking of forensics, Peter has also added a new post to his blog today, doing a deep dive on citation practices and showing how careful evaluation of Rossi's publications reveals lifting his citations verbatim, errors and stylistic choices he made & all: mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
Whether doing research for formal or informal venues, scholars make stylistic choices (and mistakes) all the time. Sometimes at the behest of editors, sometimes based on our knowledge of the sources. These, too, are part of our intellectual property and should be treated as such.
And the latest in #Receptiogate: it appears that sponsors have been removed from the footer of their website. In the replies to @lisafdavis's caps, @SusanKlaiber suggests the removal may have been prompted by local reporting and links to said article.
Just kidding, they're back. Because nothing says "I'm not nervous about being accused of fraud" like temporarily taking down a list of sponsors. Someone in the comments notes their university has already contacted Rossi about illicit use of their logo.
Here @JW_Fr does an excellent job of breaking down what appears to be several new posts about Peter's evidence of stolen content. As he points out, it's ironic that she seems to be using the Wayback Machine incorrectly to make her refutations.
And, because this seems like the best idea ever, it appears Rossi or her partner have created yet another alt account for the express purpose of weighing in on the accusations. This time sans threats and burglars.
It seems that Rossi has also given an interview in Italian where she claims she's been receiving aggressive anonymous emails and threats to her family. (article linked in the tweet above this quote translation).
If that is true, that is horrible and should not happen to anyone. No one deserves that kind of harassment. In fact, @mssprovenance has been very careful to tell people *not* to do these things as the event unfolds. Image
But it's also worth noting: 1) We should take all things said at this point with a grain of salt, 2) the use of her kids' photos on her site was done by Rossi, consciously editing them into stock bgs when other photos were stock people, (see Peter's post) mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2022/12/the-re…
and 3) it's really a pot/kettle situation to accuse someone of making anonymous emails/accounts to send threats & try to doxx someone when that is the *first* thing your husband did a couple days ago? 🤷 Maybe media coverage is not what you want when there are so many receipts.
oh no. There is now a message & two defense videos up on Receptio's page. Aside from digging a deeper hole, surely putting students front and center in a scandal that could have serious repercussions for their careers is a truly awful move?
This is actually a good reminder that one key issue in #Receptiogate is a total lack of regard for work by/on vulnerable academic groups. Not just independent scholars but those who engage in public-facing scholarship, & queer/intersex/genderfluid studies:
It's hard to overstate the long and recent/current troubled past in medieval studies, and this is not just a matter of potentially stealing work and defrauding academic institutions, but doing so while utterly disrespecting labor by and on already underserved communities.
I think "But graduate students benefited from my grift!" is not going to be the defense you think it is.
A new troll account has been created... today. lol. Did they really need another hole to dig?
It seems that rather than focusing on trying to prove her own innocence and the validity of Receptio, Rossi has instead turned to personal insults & false accusations of manuscript trafficking by Peter.
See also in this thread Rossi explicitly mischaracterizing statements of other scholars to argue they are supporting her. When is enough enough? Ma'am, please take a moment get your house in order before dragging anyone else into this with dubious claims.
Ah, this master thread made a cameo on a very long page on Rossi's website about the situation that does not do her any favors. I enjoy how many times she posted Peter's photo (and different ones!). It has big "you sent me my face for some reason" energy. receptio.eu/kidd
(Those not familiar with "you sent me my face" should get harassed by the right wing more often, me and @tlecaque are very familiar!)
If you go down thread there is more explanation in English on the latest in #Receptiogate, but it seems from this article that Rossi may have also used other fake accounts online to harass/deceive people in relation to a novel she wrote? One really can’t make this up. 🫠
One of Peter’s blog posts has been removed by the webhost, presumably for having photos of Rossi’s children on it, even though they were screencaps reproducing photos *she herself placed on her website.* #Receptiogate
A #Receptiogate follow-up on the issue of Peter having his blogposts forcibly removed--if the photos are so sensitive, why are some of them public elsewhere?
And a great #Receptiogate piece (even run through google translate!) in Dutch that highlights some of the new developments of fake accounts on Facebook that seem to have been created & used solely to praise her work:
Screencapped and linked in the above article is also a file now being updated to reflect instances of plagiarism, digging into all of the citations & including an appendix:
In the latest of #Receptiogate: it seems as if new companies have been registered by Rossi in the last week, which is definitely real normal right.....
And, it seems that the fake name "Lev Matvej Loewenthal" Rossi published poetry & prose as has also likely ripped off the work of famous artists? Because scholarship wasn't enough, I guess.
I hesitate to call it a "pen name" because as @JPeterBurger has pointed out "Rossi does not call Loewenthal a pseudonym but a 'heteronym': he is a fictional personality with a life of his own, also outside his publications." nieuwscheckers.nl/verknipt-plagi…

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