UW Research

Policies, Procedures and Guidance

GUIDANCE Certificate of Confidentiality


A Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) is a legal protection that agencies within the federal Department of Health and Human Services 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

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
Added a note to section six regarding researchers who will collect data beyond expiration of NIH funding – 07.19.2018
Revised information about how the CoC expiration date relates to data collected after the expiration date – 06.29.2018