I found a July 1 2010 piece in the Herald (Scotland), in which a professor argued that the Scottish National Party may wish to push ahead with a referendum on independence even though polls show a majority are against it, with history being on its side:
"Indeed, a quick glance at the 16 referendums on independence in the past 100 years show only one country rejected the outcome of a referendum on this matter. That was Denmark’s rejection of the 51% to 49% outcome of the independence referendum for the Faroe Islands in 1946. Apart from this, all independence referendums have been accepted, even if the outcome has been close, as it was when Malta voted for secession from the UK by a margin of less than 1% in 1964."
The full article can be read here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/guest-commentary/could-or-would-the-scots-vote-to-go-it-alone-1.1038547
I emailed the professor and it seems that the number 16 in terms of referendums is from a reference which is probably now out of date. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, many referendums in the 1990s and 2000s have had their results rejected by the state involved. Yugoslavia refused to recognize the results of the referendums in Croatia and Bosnia, for example. South Ossetia's referendum on independence was of course rejected by Georgia.