I really picture scientists as people spending inordinate amounts of time on a single subject, pouring through books and repeating tedious experiments, and then making conclusions based on the data. Brahe, Galelio et al. would seem to fit that.
I agree that the job title of "scientist" wasn't defined back then and that science overlapped with what we would consider bunk today. However, the word 'scientist' provides a non-ambiguous way to communicate what they did. Calling Hooke a 'natural philosopher' doesn't really help inform people of what he did. Scientist, otoh, does.
We could go around educating people on the various predecessors to modern scientist, but that would be an excercise in pedantry.