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Help, my data is gone!

It can happen that the data you´ve collected with SoSci Survey is deleted. Reasons for this are:

  • If you stop using a survey project for several months, we assume that you´ve completed the survey and downloaded the data. Before that, you will receive an email that the data will be deleted as a reminder.
    • On projects will have been archived 3 months after the last login in the project (not in the user account).
    • On the pro server the automatic archiving is done after 12 months.
    • On other servers the period until deletion is determined by the respective server operator.
  • You have (accidentally) clicked on Delete all data (Delete Data) and confirmed the request again with the red button.
  • You have downloaded the data and deleted the survey project from the server. But the computer, laptop or USB stick is defect and you haven´t made a backup of the data.

However, the data collected in the questionnaire may be urgently needed because a final, bachelor, master or diploma thesis, a dissertation or a DFG project depends on this data. Then the question comes up whether the lost data can be recovered.

Note: If you´ve only deleted a question or an item from your questionnaire, please read on here: Delete Questions, Items and Response Options

Note: If you only need the questionnaire again, not the collected data, then download the archive file (XML) within your user account under projects and then follow these instructions: Copying a Survey

Can data be restored?

There may be backup copies (server backups) of the data prior to deletion:

  • At, daily backups are kept for the last 7 days, and at least one backup per month for the last 12 months. However, this does not apply to email addresses (mail merge address list) and separately collected contact data (see below).
  • Daily backup copies are kept on the pro server for 1 month. To comply with personal data processing requirements, all backup copies are deleted after 1 month.
  • On other survey servers please contact the respective operator.

After 12 months, backup copies will be deleted from in accordance with the privacy policy. Data deleted on SoSci Survey more than 12 months ago generally cannot be restored from backup.

Personal data

Since the DSGVO exists, personal data (mail merge address list and separately collected contact data) is also backed up on separately from the data that is otherwise collected in the questionnaire. The backups of personal data are already deleted after 1 month, a restoration of the serial mail address list (incl. opt-in) and separately collected contact data is no longer possible after that.

Effort and costs

Extracting the project data and entering it into the running database is very time-consuming. In order not to tie up resources unnecessarily, we only restore data if it´s really worth the effort. To ensure this, we ask for one of the following two quid pro quos for restoring from backup:

  • Either you donate an amount of at least 60 € to a non-profit organization of your choice and send us a donation receipt for confirmation.
  • Or you translate a chapter of the SoSci Survey manual into English (Translate chapter).
  • As an option, we invoice commercial users directly for the cost (60 €).

In any case, please contact us in advance via email to and specify which project it is about and when the data was deleted.

en/results/restoredata.txt · Last modified: 13.12.2023 21:20 by admin
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