Human Subjects and Privacy Protection

All NIJ employees, contractors, and award recipients must be cognizant of the importance of protecting the rights and welfare of human subject research participants. All research conducted at NIJ or supported with NIJ funds must comply with all Federal, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs, and NIJ regulations and policies concerning the protection of human subjects and the DOJ confidentiality requirements.

Why is it important for those of us involved in research to care about these requirements? Fulfilling our obligations under these regulations is important for several reasons other than just being in compliance with the regulations and processing the research award, including:

  • Following these procedures provides research subjects protection from harm that might result from their participation in research.
  • Complying with these procedures (e.g., IRB review, informed consent, confidentiality concerns) improves the overall quality of the research we conduct and the data used in the analysis.
  • Consideration of the confidentiality and human subject issues and compliance with the rules will allow us to continue to conduct difficult research on important societal problems and to provide a scientifically informed basis for making important public policy decisions.
  • The codes of conduct and ethical standards of our profession to which we adhere require the dutiful protection of human research subjects and confidentiality.
  • Many of these concepts have longstanding associations with other fundamental aspects of our society (e.g., belief in individual rights, representative government), and fulfilling our obligations defines us as a society and a nation.

NIJ policy provides for the protection of the privacy and wellbeing of individuals who participate in NIJ research studies under two different, but philosophically related, sets of regulations:

Date Modified: April 20, 2010