Come to think of it, I haven't read all that many books that fit her definition. Off the cuff, I can remember:
Carl Djerassi: Cantor's Dilemma (which also got Rohn interested in this)
Carl Sagan: Contact
Daniel Kehlmann: Measuring the world
Missing from the LabLit list is German author Karl Aloys Schenzinger who is a pioneer of the genre:
Anilin. Roman eines Farbstoffes (1936)
Bei I.G. Farben (1951)
but who is somewhat discredited by being also the author of Hitlerjunge Quex (1932), a novel glorifying the Nazi youth organisation.
An Austrian refugee working in Canada, Charles Wassermann (1924-78) novelised the discovery of insulin in the book:
Also missing is Jules Verne. Looking up by topics, one can find loads of novels about scientists, eg about Kepler the German wikipedia entry lists:
Rosemarie Schuder: Der Sohn der Hexe – In der Mühle des Teufels. Berlin: Rütten & Loening 1968
Wilhelm und Helga Strube: Kepler und der General. Berlin: Neues Leben 1985
Johannes Tralow: Kepler und der Kaiser. Berlin: Verlag der Nation 1961
As for the reasons for the increase over the last 20 years, I reckon that Djerassi's success with Cantor's dilemma may have triggered something like a chain reaction.
On second thoughts, the graph shown in Nature would also be compatible with the interpretation that lablit novels decay with a half life of 10 years.
PS Many years ago I read a book that comprehensively analyses the image of scientists in literature - I vaguely remember I found it quite inspiring at the time (need to read it again at some point). That's "From Faust to Strangelove" by Roslynn Haynes, Johns Hopkins University Press 1994 (Paperback 1995)