Once upon a time, I was asked by the journal to provide references with journal names in abbreviations. i.e., Journal of the American Statistical Association should be J. Amer. Statist. Assoc. This is annoying because the journal entries in my BibTeX database are in full names. If I do a simple search and replace, it will be problematic again when other journals ask for full names.
I found a solution (or a workaround, to be precise) with BibTeX. See my BibTeX database page for a detailed explanation.
Others suggest using Biber (A BibTeX replacement for users of BibLaTeX) but I have not spent time on that yet.