UW Research
Policies, Procedures and Guidance

GUIDANCE Certificate of Confidentiality


A Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) is a legal protection that certain federal agencies can issue to researchers to protect identifiable sensitive information collected as part of a study. It allows researchers to refuse to disclose name or any information, documents or biospecimens containing identifiable information about the research subjects.

NIH CoC Decision Tree: Is my research subject to CoC?

Change Notes

Transfer content from Word-based document to webpage; moderate revisions to organization; add note about CoCs and medical records; other minor revisions to content – 10.27.2022
Add note that Department of Defense can issue CoCs – 12.28.2021
Clarify information about expiration dates for CoCs – 08.26.2021
Revise wording to be inclusive of multi-site and collaborative research designs and add instruction to remove the CoC statement from consent form when the CoC expires – 11.15.2019
Added Centers for Disease Control as a funding agency that automatically issues a CoC – 11.30.2018