NIH ANNOUNCES STATEMENT ON CERTIFICATES OF CONFIDENTIALITY

Release Date:  March 15, 2002

NOTICE:  NOT-OD-02-037

National Institutes of Health 

Certificates of Confidentiality are issued by the National Institutes 
of Health (NIH) to protect identifiable research information from 
forced disclosure.  They allow the investigator and others who have 
access to research records to refuse to disclose identifying 
information on research participants in any civil, criminal, 
administrative, legislative, or other proceeding, whether at the 
federal, state, or local level.  Certificates of Confidentiality may be 
granted for studies collecting information that if disclosed could have 
adverse consequences for subjects or damage their financial standing, 
employability, insurability, or reputation.  By protecting researchers 
and institutions from being compelled to disclose information that 
would identify research subjects, Certificates of Confidentiality help 
achieve the research objectives and promote participation in studies by 
assuring confidentiality and privacy to participants.  

Certificates constitute an important tool to protect the privacy of 
research study participants.  Thus, NIH would like to encourage their 
appropriate use.  NIH is making information widely available to 
investigators working on sensitive biomedical, behavioral, clinical or 
other types of research.  

Information on Certificates of Confidentiality is now available on the 
NIH web site at the CoC Kiosk at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coc/index.htm.  The Kiosk includes 
background information on Certificates, application instructions for 
extramural and intramural investigators, frequently asked questions, 
information on communicable disease reporting policy, and a list of 
contacts.  For further information, please see the list of contacts at 
NIH Institutes and Centers at the CoC Kiosk.  


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