Certificates of Confidentiality (CoC) are issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to safeguard the privacy of research participants by protecting identifiable sensitive research information from forced disclosure. CoCs allow investigators and others who have access to research records to refuse to disclose identifying information in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding, whether at the federal, state, or local level. Certificates can be used for biomedical, behavioral, clinical or other types of research that is sensitive and could adversely affect or damage a subjects' financial standing, employability, insurability, or reputation.
NIH Policy Update:
Effective October 1, 2017, the NIH will automatically grant a CoC to studies funded wholly or in part by the NIH, that was commenced or ongoing on or after December 13, 2016, and collects or uses identifiable, sensitive information.