REDCap: Enabling reCAPTCHA for Public Surveys

Using a public survey link is the simplest and fastest way to collect responses for your survey. However, if you use a public survey link, you might recieve responses from 'bots' (also called 'spambots') - automated software programs that enter invalid data into your survey. You can enable the Google reCAPTCHA feature on public survey links to help avoid this.

How reCAPTCHA Works in REDCap:

The Google reCAPTCHA feature can be enabled to help protect your public surveys from abuse from 'bots', which are automated software programs that might enter trash data into your survey. A 'captcha' is a turing test to tell humans and bots apart. It is easy for humans to solve, but hard for bots and other malicious software to figure out. By enabling Google reCAPTCHA on your public survey, you can block automated software while helping welcome your survey participants to begin your survey with ease.

This feature can be enabled on surveys you have enabled with a public URL. (Note: Only the first instrument in your project or arm can be enabled as a public survey.) When a survey respondent navigates to the page, they will first have to pass the reCAPTCHA test:

Screenshot showing the reCAPTCHA screen to begin a survey.
The survey participant will first have to click the "I'm not a robot" checkbox. They will then be taken to the survey.

Note: A survey participant will never have to pass the reCAPTCHA test more than once per day on a given device/computer.

How to Enable reCAPTCHA on Your Survey:

To enable the reCAPTCHA feature, navigate to "Survey Distribution Tools." Click the checkbox below the public survey URL to enable the feature:

Screenshot of the checkbox to enable the reCAPTCHA feature.
Click on the checkbox to enable reCAPTCHA.

Remember if you enable reCAPTCHA and are testing your survey - it will only ask you to complete the test once per day unless you clear out cookies on your device!

Keywords:REDCap, surveys, reCAPTCHA, public surveys, URL, spambot, bots   Doc ID:111364
Owner:Amy S.Group:SMPH Research Informatics
Created:2021-06-07 11:11 CSTUpdated:2022-08-09 13:11 CST
Sites:Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, SMPH Research Informatics
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