That is pretty much the charitable explanation that Feynman offered in his notorious public talk on this subject.
That and confirmation bias. The classic example is Millikan's initial but not-quite-accurate measurement of the charge of an electron followed by subsequent results that "drifted" slowly but surely to the more modern measurement value.
Gee, Millikan is way off, but I can't publish this, I need to go over my apparatus and procedures to find what is wrong. In that way, only small changes from the "accepted" value get published until converging on a more accurate value.
Feynman was as much as saying that research in behavioral psychology was a Cargo Cult -- going through the motions that brought the planes and ships to our island without understanding that the arrival of the planes and ships had something to do with a war fought far from the horizon of the island and that actions taken by people on the island have no influence on when that war started, how long it continued, and when it ended.
He pretty much gives the benefit of the doubt on fraud, but he calls them out on experimental control, giving the example of one investigator going to the trouble to isolate the cues rats were relying upon in a maze experiment, finding it to be the sounds their feet made on the wooden boards of the maze floor, suppressing that sound by placing the maze box in sound-dampening sand, and finding the behavior of the rats to be entirely different when deprived of that cue. The amazing thing, to Feynman, was that setting the maze in sand was never adopted by subsequent studies -- the scientists in that "community" just plain didn't care.